THE HIDDEN SIDE (DARK SIDE)
of the NGO Freethebears
Expensive cars, golden watch, huge and luxurious house are unfortunately the distinguishing marks of some NGO in the developing world.
The NGO “Freethebears” is one of them.
This house, close to the Cambodian Capital City, where live some members of the organization, would be provided by a generous contributor.
Matt Hunt (CEO and SE Asia Program Manager, Free the Bears)
Matt has spent the past 8 years developing wildlife law enforcement teams and creating environmental education programs to increase environmental awareness amongst local adults and children.
Betting on the ignorance of their contributors and volunteers, some don’t hesitate to actually fraud to increase their donations. They are ruthless businessman who don’t hesitate to keep traficking to justify their presence, and enjoying a comfort and luxurious life that is not accessible to most people living in the country. On the clearly fake photo, the NGO pretending that they have a direct contact with bears.
Bribery , illegal labor, trespassing on private property, identity theft, witness tampering and verbal threats are their usual methods.
As well as arrogance and disregard towards the local cultures, to the point that they’re barely able to say a few words in the language of the country.
In this case, at Freethebears, no Laotian worker has a decision-making power and the volunteers who try to criticize theirs methods are quickly call to orders.
Acting as a steamroller, they listen only to their own law, and don’t mind to alienate other NGO of animal’s protection.
Mr. Christophe Locascio learn it the hard way. Living for 18 years in south east Asia, he spends most of his time taking care of his animals, some of which were victims of abuse or traffic, on his private property and at his own expense.
His favorite animal, a black bear named Bouba, has raised the greed of the NGO Freethebears.
Twice, they illegally try to take his bear.
Coming with many people, with cages, they trespass his private property.
Luckily for Mr Locascio, the presence of his animal is completely legal and official, and was the object of a long process at the highest level of the administration.
The director of Freethebears, Matt HUNT, and his manager Mr. Luke NICHOLSON, did the round trip from Luang Prabang (more than 400 km) with several non-adapted vehicles and undersized transfer cages, forcing the Laotian administration to unnecessary journeys, for no reason and with no result.
As a matter of fact, Mr Locascio wants to thank the authority for their honesty. Twice, they have asked the members of the organization freethebear to leave is property and to leave his bear.
The yellow and black license plate stand for private vehicles and not NGO.
Transfer of protected animals in Laos is prohibited in those cars.
The reason of his interest is that Bouba is quite a special bear : she lives with a human, play and eat with him several hours a day.
In her 3000m2 park, with a pool of fresh water and an industrial fan, Bouba has an exceptional quality of life in Laos.
A bear so used to – and fond of – human presence would be a great attraction and a very lucrative facade for the organization.