Extinct Animals : Indian Rhinoceros
The biblical unicorn may have been a wild ox, but the great Indian rhinoceros is similar to a unicorn: it has a single horn, usually about 53 cm long, and it is very hard to find, being among the rarest mammals in the world today.
The Rhino’s horn is not a true horn, but consists of compressed hair, and the animal prefers to defend itself with its canine teeth with which it can make horrible gashes. Rhinos became extinct in America long ago, and are becoming much scarcer in other parts of the world, but there are still five species remaining: two in Africa and three in Asia. They are the largest land mammals after the elephant and weigh from 1,800 to 3,600 kg.
The Indian rhino has well-developed incisor teeth and two long canine teeth in its lower jaw. It is studded with knob-like tubercles and is unique in having huge folds of skin at its joints and great rolls at the neck. Together with the large, horny plates covering its body, the beast appears to be armour plated. Threatened by continued loss of habitat and poaching, conservation efforts are essential to ensure this creatures survival. Conservation objectives include: the maintenance of a wild population of at least 2,000 rhinos in at least six major sanctuaries in the current range of the species; translocation of animals to create new sanctuaries and populations; continued anti-poaching efforts; maintenance of a captive population capable of long-term viability to guard against any unforeseen extinction of the wild population; and reduction in the demand for rhino products.