Rhinos of Nepal

Greater one-horned rhino Hugo at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

The Rhinos of Nepal exhibit provides a fantastic home for our greater one horned rhinos, highlighting ZSL's conservation work with these “armour-plated” giants.

Greater one-horned rhino Hugo at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Meet our rhinos 

Hugo - Our male rhino Hugo was born in Rotterdam Zoo in Holland. He's a gentle giant who loves to swim. He can often be seen relaxing in his indoor pool, and likes to sit in the water and eat. He's a bit goofy and keepers describe him as a lovable Labrador! He loves a fuss and enjoys being trained by his keepers, as long as there are apples involved! 

Behan - She's pretty relaxed and easy going, but also loves attention and is known for getting 'hangry'. Her favourite food is watermelon. Keepers describle her as a strong independent woman! 

Beluki - She loves to mud wallow and enjoys a slower pace of life. Her favourite thing to do is to be showered with the hose. 


About the exhibit 

The £1m development features indoor heated pools so that the rhinos can enjoy their favourite past time – wallowing in muddy water – all year round. A spacious viewing area allows the public to get a close-up view of the rhinos indoors as well as outdoor viewing of them in their paddock.

A walk across to the “maternity wing” takes visitors through the specially-designed watch tower, modelled on those used by conservationists to spot rhino in the field.

Rhinos of Nepal is ZSL’s first fully “green” exhibit. The building utilises recycled and local materials where possible (such as recycled railway sleepers and local sandstone). Making use of natural sunlight, and unique water treatment systems linked to a reed bed system to filter waste water before it drains away.

Many other features, such as rubberised flooring for improved foot care, safe animal confinement for training, and flexible stall spaces within a well-ventilated environment. 

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Greater one-horned rhino Hugo at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

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Greater one-horned rhino Hugo at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Meet gentle giant Hugo, one of our greater one-horned rhinos at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. 

Greater one-horned rhino Hugo at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Species: Greater one-horned rhinoceros

Latin name: Rhinoceros unicornis

What they look like: The greater one-horned rhinoceros has thick grey skin, changing to pink in the folds and of course a distinctive horn on the end of its nose, as well as small bumps on their shoulders and upper legs.

    What they eat: Grasses, fruit, leaves, shrub and tree branches. 

    Habitat: The species mainly inhabits grasslands, but has been known to live by swamps and forests.

    Where they live: India and Nepal.

    Threats: Habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, and poaching for their horns. 


    Key facts 

    • There are only around 2,500 greater one-horned rhinos left in the wild. The overall population has slowly increased from as few as 200 at the beginning of the 20th century.
    • The populations in zoos is now stable and viable as an insurance policy in case of extinctions of the wild populations.
    • Greater one-horned rhinos are the second largest species of rhino, after the white rhino.
    • They have the most folded skin of all rhino species. The folds help it to regulate body temperature by increasing the surface area.
    • Instead of using their horn to fight, the males use their long, sharp lower teeth.
    • They have a folding upper lip that can grasp leaves and twigs but can fold it away to graze on the tall grass of the terrain.


    ZSL's conservation work with the greater one-horned rhino

    The greater one-horned rhino is restricted to less than a dozen protected areas, scattered across north and north-eastern India and southern Nepal. Poaching and the loss of their grassland and wetland habitat have left just 2,575 rhinos alive today. At ZSL, we're working to protect this amazing species in Nepal. Find out how

    Learn more about our conservation work

    Conservation Status