If being an endangered species was a support group, there'd be a lot of fighting over chairs.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists almost 20,000 threatened species.

But you know who'd always get a chair? The rhino.


And really, rhinos are super important because they function kind of like a "sponsor" at an AA meeting — helping other animals make it.

Besides, if they wanna sit down, who is going to stop them? Image from Jon Mountjoy/Flickr.

There are five species of rhino, spread throughout Africa and Asia. In general, rhinos would really love nothing more than to be left alone to eat, sleep, and make more, smaller rhinos to carry on their rhino legacies. But life isn't fair.

Thanks to a demand for rhino horns and humans deciding that prime rhino habitat is a really good place for some shopping malls, their numbers have been falling. The rhino population has gotten so small that some places are using drones and private armies to protect them.

Some types of rhinos, like the southern white rhino, are still relatively numerous. But others, like the Sumatran and Javan rhinos, number less than 100. There may be only three northern white rhinos left.

This is, unfortunately, a story familiar to a lot of species.

Even more unfortunately, not all of these other species have the star power or recognition that a rhino does. Some are not well-known and some are just, uh...

This is an unfortunate-looking proboscis monkey. Image from Bjørn Christian Tørrissen/Wikimedia Commons.

...not as photogenic.

But here's the good news: Saving a rhino does something kind of magical.

Saving a plot of land for rhinos helps save all their neighbors too. It's a total bargain, a kind of two-for-one deal for protecting the animal kingdom, but involving otters, weasels, and leopards!

Protecting rhinos helps lots of other animals, like this pinecone-looking pangolin!

Image from David Brossard/Flickr.

You may have never heard of them, but pangolins may be the world's most trafficked mammal. The same protected areas and anti-poaching laws passed to protect big stars like rhinos may help save them too.

But wait, there's more! Because there's more than one species of rhino!

Protecting the habitat of the Sumatran rhino also helps protect this adorable family of Asian small-clawed otters, for instance.

These otters are deeply invested in rhino conservation. Image from Neil McIntosh/Flickr.

And this nappy binturong (aka the weasel version of Wilford Brimley):

He's dreaming about a rhino getting full habitat protection. Image from jinterwas/Flickr.

Fun fact: Binturongs laugh when they're happy and smell like popcorn.

And this clouded leopard!

This leopard is harder to see, so just save the rhino and get his habitat thrown in for free! Image from Dr. Raju Kasambe/Wikimedia Commons.

Why is saving the rhino such a powerful choice when it comes to saving animals?

Rhinos need a lot of space. A pair of female white rhinos can have a home territory of up to about 12 square miles, so keeping a healthy rhino population means setting aside a lot of land.

But rhinos aren't the only ones that live on that land, so protecting just one pair of rhinos also means protecting a host of their smaller neighbors. Regulations to prevent poaching and trafficking often help save other animals too. Their ability to protect their neighboring species means rhinos are crucial for their ecosystems.

Rhinos can be both a flagship species — one species used as a symbol for an entire ecosystem — and an umbrella species one species whose protection trickles down to many others.

These guys? A total bargain for saving many species. Image from International Rhino Foundation/Wikimedia Commons.

That's why for everyone out there who loves to save coupons or is always on the hunt for an amazing deal, saving a rhino is a total bargain.

So a lot of animals might be happy to have a superstar neighbor like a rhino around.

Even if it means giving up their seat at the next endangered species meeting.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

When schools closed early in the spring, the entire country was thrown for a loop. Parents had to figure out what to do with their kids. Teachers had to figure out how to teach students at home. Kids had to figure out how to navigate a totally new routine that was being created and altered in real time.

For many families, it was a big honking mess—one that many really don't want to repeat in the fall.

But at the same time, the U.S. hasn't gotten a handle on the coronavirus pandemic. As states have begun reopening—several of them too early, according to public health officials—COVID-19 cases have risen to the point where we now have more cases per day than we did during the height of the outbreak in the spring. And yet President Trump is making a huge push to get schools to reopen fully in the fall, even threatening to possibly remove funding if they don't.

It's worth pointing out that Denmark and Norway had 10 and 11 new cases yesterday. Sweden and Germany had around 300 each. The U.S. had 55,000. (And no, that's not because we're testing thousands of times more people than those countries are.)

The president of the country's largest teacher's union had something to say about Trump's push to reopen schools. Lily Eskelsen Garcia says that schools do need to reopen, but they need to be able to reopen safely—with measures that will help keep both students and teachers from spreading the virus and making the pandemic worse. (Trump has also criticized the CDCs "very tough & expensive guidelines" for reopening schools.)

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