Seasonal variations in food plant preferences of reintroduced Rhinos Rhinoceros unicornis (Mammalia: Perrissodactyla: Rhinocerotidae) in Manas National Park, Assam, India

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Deba Kumar Dutta
Pranab Jyoti Bora
Rita Mahanta
Amit Sharma
Anindya Swargowari


The food preferences of translocated Rhinos in Manas National Park were studied to find out variations in seasonal and annual preferences.  A total of 139 plants species belonging to 39 families were observed to be consumed as food.  On an average, grasses (n=33) contributed 24% of Rhino food, aquatic plants (n=23) 16.5%, shrubs (n=11) 7.5%, herbs (n = 31) 22.3% trees (n=26) 18.7%, creepers (n=3) 2.1% and agricultural crops (n=12) 8.6%.  Among the grasses, throughout the year Arundo donax, Cynodon dactylon, Imperata cylindrica, Saccharum elephantinus and Saccharum spontaneum were the maximum preferred species.  Rhinos were observed to browse shrubs and tree twigs during the winter season and browsing was found to be very limited during the monsoon due to the abundance of young grass.  Various anthropogenic pressures such as unregulated grassland burning, cattle grazing, invasions of Bombax ceiba and shrubs like Chromolaena odorata, Leea asiatica and herbs like Ageratum conyzoides have degraded some of the important grasslands.  So, a proper grassland management protocol including the burning of grasslands during the dry season, keeping grazing animals away and control of weeds is suggested in the areas extensively used by the Rhinos.


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Dutta, D.K., Bora, P.J., Mahanta, R., Sharma, A. and Swargowari, A. 2016. Seasonal variations in food plant preferences of reintroduced Rhinos Rhinoceros unicornis (Mammalia: Perrissodactyla: Rhinocerotidae) in Manas National Park, Assam, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 8, 13 (Nov. 2016), 9525–9536. DOI:
Author Biographies

Deba Kumar Dutta, WWF‐India, Parvati Nagar, P.O. Tezpur, Assam 784001, India

Senior Project Officer , WWF-India

Pranab Jyoti Bora, WWF-India, Kaziranga Karbi Anglong Landscape Programme, Bogorijuri, Kohora, Kaziranga District, Golaghat, Assam 785609, India

Senior Coordinator KKL Landscape, Assam

Rita Mahanta, Associate Professor (Retd.), Department of Zoology, Cotton College, Guwahati, Assam 785601, India

Associate Professor (Retd), Department of Zoology

Amit Sharma, WWF-India, Block-A-16, Flat No-103, Basistha, Guwahati, Assam 781029, India

Senior Rhino Coordinator

Anindya Swargowari, The Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Council Head of Department Forests, BTC, Kokrajhar, Assam 783370, India

The Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Council Head of Department of Forests ,BTC, Kokrajhar, Assam and Former Field Director of Manas Tiger Reserve


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