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Great One-Horned Rhinocerous (Rhinocerous unicornis)

India Suhail Offline
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( This post was last modified: 10-21-2018, 09:14 AM by Suhail )

Records of the existence rhinos and other large mammals from south of peninsular india in the sahyadri range of western ghats and adjoining regions of karnataka,goa and maharshtra

Back To The Sarabha Story

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Whilst digging for material on signs of pre-historic human habitation in the Dudhsagar valley, I stumbled upon a stray reference to ‘gigantic rhinos that were probably found in Goa during middle and late pleistocene’ (that would be roughly from 7,80,000 to about 10,000 years ago). [Nambirajan, 1994: Archaeology of Goa – Early Period, 22] Following the trail of references, I landed at an old report by R B Foote of Geological Survey of India dated 1874. Here he documents his find of ‘some fragments of fossil bones and teeth, and amongst them part of an upper molar of a Rhinoceros’ on the bed of a nullah, a tributary of Ghatprabha river, at Chikdauli, 3½ miles east-north-east of Gokak , in Belgaum district. [Foote, 1874: Rhinoceros Deccanensis, in Palaeontologia Indica, Series X, Vol I, 1]Foote describes the fossils in great technical detail, arriving at the conclusion that this was a distinct species, which he names Rhinoceros Deccanensis.

According to Foote, at the time the rhinos were found there, the Ghatprabha basin was covered by dense forests interspersed with several lakes and swamps, providing a suitable habitat for the rhinoceros; Foote’s description conjures up images of ‘myristica swamps’ we saw a little earlier. [Wading Through The Myristica Swamps, Aug 26, 2018]Fossil bones of several other mammal species related to bulls, buffaloes and elephants have been found in the valleys of the numerous rivers originating in the eastern foothills of the Sahyadri. [Chauhan, 2008: Large mammal fossil occurrences and associated archaeological evidence … , in Quaternary International, 192, 20] Foote’s description of the landscape in which the Rhinoceros Deccanensis lived, matches very well the description of Konkan by Hwen Thsang (7th century CE). Describing his journey from Kong-kien-na-pu-lo (Konkanapura = Banavasi) to the ‘kingdom of Moholacha (Maharashtra)’, he wrote, “we pass through a great forest which is infested with savage animals and desert”. [Beal, 1911:The Life of Hiuen-Tsiang by the Shaman Hwui Li, 146] Quoting Neumayer, Mohana reports of a painting of a rhinoceros (rhinoceros unicornis) in a rock shelter at Hire Gudda, in Malaprabha basin, 13 km to the north-east of Badami. He dates it around Upper Palaeolithic that is not later than about 10,000 years ago. [Mohana, 2015: Reading Rock Art – Interpreting Temporal and Geographic Variability in the Lower Malaprabha Basin…, 178]

Ghatprabha-Malprabha basin lies just around 100 km from the Dudhsagar – Mhaday basin, in a continuous forest corridor going across from the western slope to the eastern slope of the Sahyadri; the western and eastern slopes of Sahyadri form a vegetational continuum; Mhaday Wildlife Sanctuary and Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary are actually a single forest divided into two by the state boundary. Or, as Nairne describes Konkan Ghat Matha : “the country immediately above and immediately below the Ghats is of exactly the same character, although so different in elevation.” [Nairne, 1894: History of the Konkan, ix]It is not unreasonable, therefore, to suppose that rhinos roamed the forests of Goa too. That we have still not found any fossils yet, does not prove otherwise; it is probably a matter of time.  It is rather surprising that we have not found even human fossil bones at the sites of pre-historic artefacts. One reason could be that the beds of the rivers on the western face of the Sahyadri have a relatively steep gradient, causing an increase in water velocity and turbulence; in such conditions the fossils are difficult to survive.

In the concluding paras of his report Foote contends that “There is no record of the existence of rhinocerotes so far south in the Peninsula of India, nor, as far as I could ascertain, does any tradition of their existence remain among the people.” Nevertheless, as we saw in The Sarabha Story [08 Jul 18], such a tradition does exist. Abu Rihan Al Beruni, a Persian traveler who toured India in the 11th century CE writes of an animal that “has the shape of a buffalo, but is larger than a ganda (rhinoceros)”; it had four legs, but also on the back it had something like four legs directed upwards and two horns; it was called sarava. Unfortunately it is not possible to reconstruct the torso of the animal from Foote’s fossil finds. Al Beruni found this animal in what he calls “plains of Danak, inthe province of Kunkan, with its capital Thana, on the sea coast, 25 farsakh from Mahratta-Desh”. [Sachau, 1910: Alberuni’s India, 203). In all probability, Al Beruni himself had not seen the animal; for it might not have existed then. But it definitely existed in the collective memory of the people; and existed so vividly that he took it as a fact.  Rashid al-Din Hamadani, another Persian traveller who toured India around the 13th century CE, also writes about such an animal. [Jahn, 1965: Rashid al-Din’s History of India, 59] The description of sarava, however, might have got distorted over time; as the memory passed from generation to generation over thousands of years, the animal must have been transformed from a realistic mammal to a mythological monster.

The myth could probably give us a clue to the habitat of the animal, if we are to trace the etymology of the river name Saravathi to sarava + vathi. The Saravathi valley extends from the top of Sahyadri to the sea near Honavar. Could this point to the natural habitat of the sarava? A continuous forest still prevails from the Ghatprabha-Malprabha basin to the Saravathi basin via Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary and Anshi National Park; when the rhinos roamed that land, it must have been even more dense and unbroken.

A transformation from a realistic mammal to a mythological monster seems to be what has actually happened to sarava. We find it in the brahmanic pantheon as Sarabha, the avatar that Siva assumed to fight Narasimha, the fierce man-lion avatar of Visnu. Obviously the brahman must have assimilated the vadukar myth after their advent into Deccan. Three elements of the Sarabha story – Sarabha, Virabhadra and Gandabherunda – seem to have their origin in Deccan. The first, as we saw above, seems to have been inspired by the animal sarava; the second is Birappa, the folk god from Deccan assimilated into the brahmanic pantheon; and the third has a strong connection to the Kannadda identity, though we do not know yet how.
Link:http://www.navhindtimes.in/back-to-the-sarabha-story/amp/


Sarabha story-article 1
http://www.navhindtimes.in/the-sarabha-story/amp/
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India Rishi Offline
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Valmiki Tiger Reserve may soon host rewilded rhinos.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Long after they disappeared from most of the range along the terai grasslands in the floodplains of the Indus & Ganga, one-horned rhinos were occasionally spotted in forests of Bihar’s Champaran (now Valmiki) and adjoining Gorakhpur in UP till the 1960s, thanks to dispersal from the contiguous forests of Nepal.
In the late 1970s, studies by IUCN’s Rhino Specialist Group and Indian experts identified UP’s Dudhwa and Valmiki among the few potential sites for rebuilding rhino populations. This led to restocking of Dudhwa with rhinos airlifted from Assam in 1984, it now hosts almost 40 rhinos & now UP is preparing Pilibhit Tiger Reserve for rhinos.

The great one-horned rhinocerous are present in hundreds just beyond the border, into Nepal's Chitwan National Park. Unfortunately, Valmiki has always received only temporary stragglers. Every years a few rhinos get washed away by the annual monsoon floods, but https://indianexpress.com/article/india/displaced-rhinos-back-in-nepal-bihar-reserve-loses-rare-chance-flood-4837631/.
After being conferred the "Earth Guardian" award in recognition of its officials' efforts at revival of habitat and species in the reserve area, 900 sq.km Valmiki has been trying to establish itself as a safe ground for rhinos.

*This image is copyright of its original author


Authorities are mulling to rewild surpus rhinos from Bihar's Patna zoo to Valmiki Tiger Reserve, after successful reintroduction of captive-bred ghariyals in Gandak River at the reserve in 2014. Patna zoo has the highest number of rhinos in the country. At present, there are 14 rhinos — six males and eight females — at the zoo.
"Everything not saved will be lost."

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Finland Shadow Offline
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( This post was last modified: 01-12-2019, 05:52 AM by Shadow )

For some reason I didn´t find rhino threads, so I decided to put here one. Maybe her could be information also about Javan and Sumatran rhinos, which are extremely endangered species!! Siberian tigers and Asiatic lions are thriving compared to those two species.

Anyway rhinos are interesting animals and I think, that they deserve own topic, maybe all subspecies in one thread or Asian and African with own threads. After all rhinos are (imo) in a way quite iconic animals, who haven´t admired those as a little child, when looking how they rammed against cars etc. in nature documents :) That change from peaceful giant eating grass to berserk bulldozer in a split second when irritated...

But I start to put here information about greater one-horned rhinos or as those are also called, Indian rhinos.

Here link to one old research, quite long one and a lot of good information about size, behavior, differences between ages etc. etc.


http://www.rhinoresourcecenter.com/index...1165237614

That link opens site where THE ECOLOGY AND BEHAVIOUR OF THE GREATER ONE-HORNED RHINOCEROS by William Andrew Laurie can be downloaded as 2 pdf files.
It is: A dissertation submitted to the University of Cambridge for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Quite much to read, but pdf allows searching by keywords too.
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Finland Shadow Offline
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This is documentary On The Tracks Of The Unicorn. I am not sure, when this has been made exactly, but it is not quite recent. Still interesting to watch if liking rhinos and interested to see in what kind of environment greater one-horned rhino lives nowadays. That is over 50 minutes, so some time is needed when watching it.




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Nepal Jimmy Offline
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Greater one horned, chasing and trying to horn the other. Kaziranga national park.

*This image is copyright of its original author

With other grazers, kaziranga

*This image is copyright of its original author
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Finland Shadow Offline
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(01-12-2019, 09:22 AM)Jimmy Wrote: Greater one horned, chasing and trying to horn the other. Kaziranga national park.

*This image is copyright of its original author

With other grazers, kaziranga

*This image is copyright of its original author

Here rhino´s relaxing somewhere in Kaziranga. They really enjoy being in water :)








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Nepal Jimmy Offline
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I stumbled upon this footage, not seen this before



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Finland Shadow Offline
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Documentary about rhinos in Kaziranga, this is all about rhinos there.




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( This post was last modified: 01-14-2019, 06:02 PM by Jimmy )

(01-14-2019, 02:18 PM)Shadow Wrote: Documentary about rhinos in Kaziranga, this is all about rhinos there.




One of the places I would like to visit in lifetime, remarkable little place Kaziranga. It seems some rhinos if it gets annoyed by constantly being followed can charge elephants too, primary mode of safari in Kaziranga. Opens it's mouth and just keeps coming.watch



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Finland Shadow Offline
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(01-14-2019, 04:15 PM)Jimmy Wrote:
(01-14-2019, 02:18 PM)Shadow Wrote: Documentary about rhinos in Kaziranga, this is all about rhinos there.




One of the places I would like to visit in lifetime, remarkable little place Kaziranga. It seems some rhinos if it gets annoyed by constantly being followed can charge elephants too, primary mode of safari in Kaziranga. Opens it's mouth and just keeps coming.watch




It would be interesting to know, what elephant thinks in that kind of situation. I mean so many people on back of it, then that big opponent charging. Does it try to avoid dropping people in some way or is it totally in "survival mode" :) Of course it has to move in some way, it can´t just stand still. Well, looks like that no-one got hurt too badly.
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Nepal Jimmy Offline
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(01-14-2019, 06:12 PM)Shadow Wrote:
(01-14-2019, 04:15 PM)Jimmy Wrote:
(01-14-2019, 02:18 PM)Shadow Wrote: Documentary about rhinos in Kaziranga, this is all about rhinos there.




One of the places I would like to visit in lifetime, remarkable little place Kaziranga. It seems some rhinos if it gets annoyed by constantly being followed can charge elephants too, primary mode of safari in Kaziranga. Opens it's mouth and just keeps coming.watch




It would be interesting to know, what elephant thinks in that kind of situation. I mean so many people on back of it, then that big opponent charging. Does it try to avoid dropping people in some way or is it totally in "survival mode" :) Of course it has to move in some way, it can´t just stand still. Well, looks like that no-one got hurt too badly.

Normally elephants are trained to encircle a rhino once it is spotted, after getting tight enough circle, elephant doesn't like going further and irritate  the rhino, they let out rumbling signal and won't budge any near to the rhinos once they know it's the limit, the rhino once they are encircled doesnot dare to escape between two elephants either they remain in the middle just watching, so they have mutual respect of one another, in the attack scenario I don't think elephant can shake off humans that fast when rhino is on attack mode close behind, in a very real threat scenario it's a survival mode for the elephant, they tuck their trunk between front legs and try to avoid being bitten and shoulder away the rhino in pursuit, i don't think elephants think of humans that is above them, rhino just tries to bite anywhere it can.



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Finland Shadow Offline
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Rhino meeting young elephant. Rhino vs Elephant is wrong headline imo, they just meet and find out, which one gives way :)




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Finland Shadow Offline
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(01-14-2019, 07:26 PM)Jimmy Wrote:
(01-14-2019, 06:12 PM)Shadow Wrote:
(01-14-2019, 04:15 PM)Jimmy Wrote:
(01-14-2019, 02:18 PM)Shadow Wrote: Documentary about rhinos in Kaziranga, this is all about rhinos there.




One of the places I would like to visit in lifetime, remarkable little place Kaziranga. It seems some rhinos if it gets annoyed by constantly being followed can charge elephants too, primary mode of safari in Kaziranga. Opens it's mouth and just keeps coming.watch




It would be interesting to know, what elephant thinks in that kind of situation. I mean so many people on back of it, then that big opponent charging. Does it try to avoid dropping people in some way or is it totally in "survival mode" :) Of course it has to move in some way, it can´t just stand still. Well, looks like that no-one got hurt too badly.

Normally elephants are trained to encircle a rhino once it is spotted, after getting tight enough circle, elephant doesn't like going further and irritate  the rhino, they let out rumbling signal and won't budge any near to the rhinos once they know it's the limit, the rhino once they are encircled doesnot dare to escape between two elephants either they remain in the middle just watching, so they have mutual respect of one another, in the attack scenario I don't think elephant can shake off humans that fast when rhino is on attack mode close behind, in a very real threat scenario it's a survival mode for the elephant, they tuck their trunk between front legs and try to avoid being bitten and shoulder away the rhino in pursuit, i don't think elephants think of humans that is above them, rhino just tries to bite anywhere it can.




For sure if in total panic. Still we know, that many animals protect owners and show time to time surprising abilities and something what could be called caring. If elephant make evasive moves as fast as it can, there might be some people flying in the air.... but of course this is speculation, actually it would be interesting to hear from people who train these elephants. In some videos when elephants get enraged it can be clearly seen, that owner on back of it has no control at all. But if elephant isn´t in total panic or irritated to get really mad charging everything, I don´t know, just crossed in my mind while watching that video.
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Nepal Jimmy Offline
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Another interesting close look at these Giants, they look so reptilian with skin folds, and resemble boulders.



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Finland Shadow Offline
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One thing when looking at conservation efforts, to know where to donate if that is possible and there is will. It would be without a doubt good information for many to hear, if possible, first hand experiences about different organizations and does it look like it, that money goes to right places, not to deep pockets of wrong people... Here short video about Kaziranga (yes, again :) and about organization, which looks like it might be on right cause. Then again I have no idea, in my country government/officials handle conservation mostly, no need for private organizations here.




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