Cause leader Rian Geldenhuys likens the hunting of rhinos to something like shooting a cow. “It’s a stupid thing to hunt.” Currently, it is illegal to poach and knowingly export any part of a rhino in South Africa, but the population plummets every year because government officials are turning a blind eye to the illegal exporting of rhino horns to countries in Asia. As Rian told us last week during an interview, “it needs to stop.”
Rhino horns are in high demand because of a belief in Vietnam and China that medicinal properties exist. Rian calls it bogus science. “You have vendors selling these horns openly, freely and no one is doing anything about it.”
In 2009, Rian began using Causes after noticing some of his Facebook friends participating in campaigns through the platform. He created a cause hoping to capture the attention of people worldwide on a platform with lots of active users. “Causes is really powerful. The new interactions are quite brilliant.”
In a few months, Rian created a variety of actions to keep his members informed. He posted frequently to keep members active. As membership grew, his actions began to meet goals. Rian’s dedication on the platform mirrored his tireless dedication on the ground, but now he had an outlet that could reach lots of people at once. Every action included a photo and was written with clarity, including a petition asking Vietnamese police to stop vendors from selling rhino products.
Recently, there was a breakthrough when South Africa introduced a new amendment defining the terms regarding the marking, hunting, and exporting of rhinos. Rian immediately posted an action to update members. The new legislation makes it clear that a person, or “hunting client,” without proper documentation from their home country is prohibited from hunting rhino. As Rian informed us, “Vietnam doesn’t have a regulatory body regarding the distribution of hunting licenses. So if you’re from Vietnam, you can’t hunt for rhino in South Africa.”
As of late last week, Rian introduced a new action informing his 15,000 members that Sir Richard Branson wants the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), — the 175 country consortium to promote the survival of endangered wildlife — to meet and agree to place a moratorium on the hunting of rhino. “What we are over the moon with is Sir Richards insistence that CITES start performing at a much greater level. It is the way he spoke out that is much more important to us than just a ‘I support the Anti-Poaching campaign.’ He actually gave the way forward. Now CITES can’t sit around much longer enjoying the view of Geneva; they actually have to act.”
There are five species of rhinos worldwide and all are endangered. You can help preserve their existence by signing this petition and telling governments and law enforcement worldwide to crack down on poaching.