Indian Rhino Population

Historically, greater one-horned rhinos were found along the Ganges, Indus, and Brahmaputra River basins. Their territory ran from Pakistan to the Indian-Burmese border and may have included Indochina, Myanmar, and southern China.  By early in the 17th century, greater one-horned rhinos had been hunted out of Pakistan and northwestern India. Due to hunting and habitat invasion and destruction, their populations continued to decline to near-extinction in the beginning of the twentieth century. 

Today, the largest population of greater one-horned rhinos can be found in Kaziranga National Park in India. Royal Chitwan National Park is Nepalís stronghold for the greater one-horned rhinos, and there are many small populations in national parks and reserves in both India and Nepal.  Due to the establishment of these parks and reserves, conservation agencies and wildlife authorities have been better able to protect the species and numbers have increased from less than 200 individuals in the early twentieth century to approximately 2,850 individuals today. 

Greater one-horned rhinos prefer riverine grasslands and the adjacent woodlands. They like to spend time immersed in water and are primarily grazers, though they will occasionally browse on land and eat underwater plants. Generally, these riverine grasslands have fertile soil, making them desirable to humans interested in using the land for agriculture and therefore inciting conflict between humans and rhinos.









Content provided by Canisius College students under the direction of Michael Noonan, PhD.