The rhinoceros is the second biggest animal in
India, next only to the elephant. It looks ugly, with
its tough skin, stout body and thick, powerful legs.
The rhino has a horn on its snout. It is not really
horn or bone, but tufts of hair matted together into
a hard substance. The horn grows from the flesh
and, if it breaks, another grows in its place. Some
people believe that rhino horn has medicinal
properties. It is, therefore, in great demand and
bought at fabulous prices.
The rhino is herbivorous. It spends long hours
grazing in the open fields or in the shallow waters
of a pond or a lake. It seldom attacks other animals
and they too leave the rhino alone because of its
bulk, brute strength and forbidding appearance.
Even the tiger keeps out of its way.
The rhino bothers no one and no one bothers it.
But it does have an enemy—man.
It is man alone who kills animals not only for
food but for pleasure and gain. He has killed so
indiscriminately that some animals have ceased to
exist and some others are in danger of becoming
Many steps have, therefore, been taken to protect
wildlife. Large tracts of forest land have been
declared protected areas. The Kaziranga Wild-
life Sanctuary on the south bank of the great
Brahmaputra river in Assam is one such. Here there
are rhinos, elephants, tigers, deer and a host of other
In spite of all the care taken by the forest authori-
ties, poachers break the law and catch or kill wild
animals for money.
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