Let’s simply look at the facts. What facts led to this point? What has transpired and how many animals and individuals have been hurt? How does this get resolved?
We gave Rebecca A. Rodriguez the opportunity to do the legal and ethical thing – Donate the donations given by the public for certain named beneficiaries in her http://www.gofundme.com/sunbearsindonesia campaign to the actual beneficiaries. How difficult can it be? You supposedly raised funds for animals, not for your personal bank account!
Approximately $65 000 given for specific animals and specific tasks. None of the animals named as beneficiaries received even $1!!! There is, months later, still no fiscal accountability of donations.
- The first basic truth is if Rebecca Rodriguez had done the right, ethical thing, none of this would be happening. If she had donated the public’s donations to the starving sun bears of Bandung Zoo, Mikey the Orangutan, the animals of Indonesia and the 2 sun bears Tegan and Bedhu – the named beneficiaries in her campaign – none of us would be here. Those animals actually desperately need help. None of them got any. If Rebecca can prove she donated a substantial portion of her fundraiser which amounts to around $65000 we would be more than willing to publish a public apology and even support Rebecca with whatever endeavors she has on the horizon.
- Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group produced a sting video in May/June 2016 of what appeared, on face value, sun bears that were standing up begging for food. The ribs of the sun bears appear to be visible. It does look like they are begging. They are in fact begging. Begging is a common, learned behavior in lots of animals.
- Scorpion Wildlife Trade Monitoring Group represented by Marison Guciano met with individuals and organizations working with Bandung Zoo. Marison Guciano agreed the sun bears were not starving.
- Scorpion Wildlife Monitor Org / Marison Guciano then purposefully went ahead and released and re-released the sting video claiming the sun bears were starving. Each time the video was put out, a plea for donations accompanied it. Scorpion used the video no less than 25 times. By releasing and re-releasing the video, it was picked up by news outlets and animal welfare organizations and an ensuing tirade of hatred for Bandung Zoo began.
- Out of the blue, one P Holmes, a serial petition organizer created a petition to close down Bandung Zoo. She used the same sting video produced in May 2016 from Scorpion.
- P Holmes purposefully and intentionally wrote outright blatant lies from the first paragraph of the petition. She knew what she wrote was untrue. She purposefully set out to maximize the outrage thereby increasing the numbers of signatories.
- Rebecca A. Rodriguez entered the scene with a fundraiser conjoined to P Holmes factually incorrect and false petition.
- Both Rebecca A. Rodriguez and P Holmes, upon their own investigation, were told by multiple sources that the fact was the sun bears were not starving.
- Despite both individuals having this information, they jointly pursued a long, hate-filled campaign defaming Bandung Zoo, Cee4Life, Sybelle Foxcroft and specifically CeeLife supporters – Linda Talmage, Paula Mu’nin, Briony Wolf and Celia Athumani on multiple platforms and used the petition and GoFundMe platforms to publish outright, blatant lies about the aforementioned.
- If one clearly evaluates the actual fundraiser created by Rebecca A. Rodriguez, it shows that funds were being raised for the sun bears of Bandung Zoo. She repeatedly wrote about the “starving sun bears”, she used the sting video, she utilized photographs of the sun bears, her fundraiser was even named after the sun bears. She included Mikey the Orangutan who needed a new enclosure. “Animals of Indonesia was also mentioned” along with “animals of Bandung Zoo”. Specifically, 2 other sun bears Tegan and Bedhu also needed a new enclosure. She also acknowledged that she would personally deliver assistance to the sun bears in whatever way was needed. But remember, Rebecca already knew the sun bears were not starving. Now if she knew the sun bears were not starving, exactly why was she raising funds for the sun bears?
- Cee4Life, already working with Bandung Zoo for several months, reached out to Rebecca A. Rodriguez as the English-speaking affiliate and stated that again – the sun bears were not starving – however, they needed enclosure upgrades which were underway and would cost around $50 000. Cee4Life, believing that Rebecca wanted to help the sun bears, asked for her to join in with Cee4Life, utilize the funds already raised for the sun bears and help contribute towards their new enclosure. At no time did Cee4Life demand Rebecca turn over the funds to Cee4Life.
- Rebecca Rodriguez then published via both the petition and the fundraiser that Cee4Life were cons, had demanded the money and published they were unethical and questionable and other highly defamatory statements.
- Cee4Life supporters who had found the fundraiser and petition online started asking questions about the disbursement of the donations since Rebecca stated on numerous occasions she was fundraising for the “starving sun bears”.
- Next came a strange “letter of offer” to Bandung Zoo. It is clearly evidenced that there is no offer whatsoever of any real type of help or any funds to assist the sun bears. Instead the letter demands certain things of Bandung Zoo. Bandung Zoo had never even heard of Rebecca Rodriguez prior to the fundraiser. Now they get a letter of demand from her and to be clear, Rebecca has no experience with Indonesia, Indonesian protocol, wildlife rescue, wildlife rehabilitation etc. Why would Bandung Zoo trust her?
- In the interim, the petition was updated with the most slanderous and defamatory allegations about Cee4Life and Cee4Life supporters. A fake Bandung Zoo/Surabaya Zoo Facebook page was created by P Holmes to incite even more hatred of Bandung Zoo and Cee4Life. Highly unethical and very hateful.
- Poo Holmes also created a Dropbox account and uploaded specific, very nasty and vile screenshots and video and called for reviews of Bandung Zoo on Google review. She cunningly set out to hurt Bandung Zoo and Cee4Life as much as possible.
- The truth is if Rebecca Rodriguez had ever really wanted to help the “starving sun bears of Bandung Zoo” she had every opportunity to do so. By the time she landed in Bandung she had raised a minimum of $45 000. Not one cent, not one dime was offered for the new enclosure construction. Not once cent, not one dime was offered towards veterinary care and costs, food, enrichment – nothing.
- Cee4Life and Cee4Life supporters started dissecting all the information coming from the Rebecca/Poo camp. With each new post came more and more outrageous claims, very hurtful lies, demented commentary which resulted in death threats, harassing phone calls, insane emails, attempts at hacking and hijacking computers etc. Neither Rebecca or Poo stopped. Almost every day there were new allegations, new lies and further defamatory hatred.
- Whilst the “Bandung Zoo” episode continued, certain individuals started investigating the claims made by Rebecca Rodriguez. Her “businesses” and projects were scrutinized. It was established that in truth Rebecca had almost no animal-related experience. Yes, in 1989 Rebecca helped the animals on the island of Guam and loves animals but it seemed there were previous unscrupulous attempts made at fundraising for and on behalf of certain animals. None of the individuals now being harassed and targeted by Rebecca had ever raised funds privately for and on behalf of any animal.
- Furthermore, repeated questions posed directly to Rebecca Rodriguez regarding her massive fundraiser http://www.gofundme.com/sunbearsindonesia were never addressed. All questions were swept under the carpet which resulted in individuals simply digging deeper and what they uncovered was not favorable.
- Poo Holmes and Rebecca Rodriguez then joined in with ex and current Tiger Temple volunteers and employees, who just happen to hate Cee4Life for exposing the Tiger Temple in Thailand and went on a year-long bashing and trashing crusade. Rebecca registered animal rescue deceivers, created a Facebook page with the same name and posted the most disgusting, vile trash we’ve ever seen. She even went on to register individual and organization’s domain names and linked them to animal rescue deceivers. Clearly, these are not the actions of an innocent victim!
- Now Rebecca Rodriguez joined up with Marison Guciano and again targeted Bandung Zoo with another carefully crafted and well-timed sting video of Ozone the Orangutan who was tossed a cigarette and was filmed smoking it. They ensured it went viral and again reached across the globe. Again, not the actions of an innocent victim.
- The damage caused to individuals and organizations has been irreperable. All parties have suffered immensely but we have to go back to point 1. None of this would be happening if Rebecca Rodriguez had done the right thing from the beginning. It is so, so sad that now all this hatred has impacted the animals who are really innocent. There are so many needy and desperate animals in dire situations who need the help of loving and caring animal advocates. This type of experience damages the animals the most.
- The fundraiser was for specific animals. None of us is interested in receiving ANY of the public’s donations. We want the animals to benefit from the fundraiser. What we propose is the animals named as beneficiaries should receive the majority of the money in whatever form ie funds paid directly for construction materials, construction costs eg labourers, veterinary equipment, medicine, specific enrichment etc. None of the funds should be disbursed in cash.
- We would accept the white flag and submit our own. However, items 1 and 24 need to be addressed and all parties would then agree to cease and desist.