One Horned Rhinoceros
When you spot a one-horned rhino in the wild for the first time, you feel like you’re being transported back to a prehistoric era.
There’s something other-worldly about these creatures with their pointy horns and thick hide, that looks like it could be bullet-proof. Female rhinos are fiercely protective mothers. They will fight unto death to protect their young from stealthy tigers and leopards.
Rhinos and elephants are wary of each other and usually maintain a respectful distance from one anther.
A charging rhino is the photo-op of a lifetime, but it’s a fearsome bundle of fury and you definitely want to look for these creatures with one of our experienced team members so that you can observe them at a close yet safe distance.
Rhinos are omnivores and when they’re not protecting their young, you will usually find them chewing on cud in the shade of a thicket.
The handful that are left are native to the terai in parks like Pilibhit and Dudhwa in North India, and in the vast grasslands of Assam, in Pobitora, Kaziranga, Manas and Jaldapara.
But despite its fragile population, the rhino is one of the most heartwarming success stories in Indian wildlife. From just 75 rhinos in the early 1900s, today the rhinos number around 2700 in India alone, making this conservation story an amazing success!
The rhino has been unmercifully poached for its precious horn, and today the One-horned Indian Rhino is a critically endangered species, according to IUCN and WWF.
While hunting has been banned, the other major problem that rhinos face is habitat loss, and conflict with human settlements. This leads to territory loss and a high population that gets crowded into a smaller area, and a shortage of corridors. Overcrowding can also lead to weaknesses in gene pools and a drop in breeding rates.
Recently, climate change has had a direct impact on rhinos in parks like Manas and Kaziranga, where intense flooding has left them stranded on small patches of land, without the ability to graze until the water recedes.
Read more about how Encounters Asia works towards protecting rhinos in India, in our wildlife conservation section.