One of these animals may have the power to save the other 3. Do you know who it is?

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.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.