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Saved from the brink of extinction: Assam’s one horned rhino

One horned rhino, Assam, India

Undoubtedly the pride of the North Eastern state of Assam, the historic one horned rhinoceros is one of the rarest and scarcely existing mammals on planet Earth. India, much known for its rich biodiversity that ranges from fauna, flora, scintillating water bodies and dense forests is unsurprisingly one of the few hot spots in the world that house the magnificent and endangered one horned rhino. An even more astonishing fact is that 95% of the total wild one horned rhino population in the world is found in India, that too only in Assam’s Pobitora, Orang and Kaziranga national parks.

The dire impact of animal poaching, destruction of forest covers and other horrendous human activities has resulted in soon to approach extinction of the one horned rhino species as only no more than 3700 one horned rhinos walk the face of the Earth today. Apart from being the heart of Assam, this wild one horned rhino is also found in Pakistan, Bhutan and Nepal, thus restricting its presence only in the Asian sub-continent. The Kaziranga national park in Assam is known to have the largest population of this rhino species, and hence is a must visit on a trip to Assam as it is only in Nepal where you will see the second most populous existence of this rhino species.

The one horned rhino is also referred to as the Indian rhino and is the largest rhino species to have braced this world. The main feature of the rhino which is obviously the reason behind its name is the single black horn estimated between 8-25 inches in length that it adorns. The rhino appears to be wearing armor, which is often one of its key descriptive terms as its grey-brown folds of skin that cover the entire surface of its body leave it with such an appearance. This species of rhino is often solitary in its movements and only sometimes found bearing company of other rhinos at the time of grazing.

While in India this rhino species is only found in the North Eastern state of Assam, not too long ago this magnificent one horned rhino stomped across the entire northern half of this country. However, the ill actions of mankind soon caught up to its healthy numbers as they were being hunted for sport or sometimes even killed as their presence impacted agricultural growth in the Indian sub-continent. These actions almost led to the extinction of this beautiful species as surveys showed the existence of only 200 rhinos at one point.

However, impactful and strict action taken by both the Nepalese and Indian wildlife authorities at the conservation of this magnificent and rare species is the reason why Assam even has the one horned rhino today. Saved just in time, today almost close to 4000 one horned rhinos have been identified in the world with Assam proudly housing the highest percentage of this species. Hence, if you ever visit the beautiful Indian state of Assam a safari of either of the three national parks that house this gem of a one horned rhino is a must.


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