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WallStreetBets investors adopted over 2000 gorillas this weekend

Retail investors on the subreddit group helped raise over $265k in online contributions to support wildlife conservation

Photo by Gary Rockett on Unsplash

On a typical weekend, the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund can expect about 20 people to symbolically adopt a gorilla to support their program to protect the great apes in their natural habitat. The minimum donation for this is $60. But this past weekend, they were in for a surprise.

After the stock market’s closing bell on Friday, members of the Reddit investing group WallStreetBets (WSB)(with time on their hands since the market was closed) began adopting gorillas through the non-profit’s website. By Saturday night, the group had raised over $70,000 for the non-profit, and the fund’s CEO and chief scientific officer, Dr. Tara Stoinski, posted a thank you video to the investment group.

On Monday, the non-profit took to Twitter to spread the word of WSB’s generosity, by which time donations had mushroomed to over $265,000.

In a statement Monday, Dr. Stoinski said, “The money these individuals have donated is an investment, not just in the Fossey Fund’s mission of Helping People, Saving Gorillas, but in our planet’s future.”

For over 50 years, the Fossey Fund's mission has been to protect endangered wild gorillas and pull them back from the brink of extinction. In addition, they work to protect the gorillas’ biodiverse habitat; the Congo Basin, the only place in the world where gorillas live.

Stoinski went on to say that, “The Congo Basin is the world’s second-largest rainforest in the world and an important piece of our planet’s natural defenses against climate change.”

Investors share the wealth

WSB member Gigi Miller is one of those who answered the call of the wild this weekend. “I adopted because, honestly, any good reason to help animals I jump at,” Miller said. “This past year, I have adopted a gorilla, a beluga whale, an elephant, and a sea turtle. My dream is to open a shelter for older and/or medically needy cats that could act as a forever home for them if need be. I am hoping that my GME funds will help me get there bit by bit.”

Although some WSB members donated because they were caught up in the moment, for others supporting wildlife conservation has been a long-time commitment.

ApesHelpApes

The WSB group members often refer to themselves as “apes”. They frequently punctuate their comments and posts with gorilla emojis, so it was a natural choice to support gorilla habitat conservation.

“ApesHelpApes. And I’ve been donating to shelters and animal conservation for quite some time now, bringing a cause up on a platform this large drives momentum to spread awareness and bring more involvement to a worthy cause.” — DankMemeAthon, WSB investor

Another WSB investor, pgrdub, donated as a way of paying it forward. “ I realized some nice gains off of GameStop, AMC, and BB, and I wanted to give back a little.” This hasn’t been the first time for pgrdub either, “I regularly donate to the WWF, koalas in Australia, and other wildlife/nature conservation efforts.”

Perhaps Dr. Stoinski says it best, “We thank these new donors for their contributions to the success of our mission — because in saving gorillas, we save the planet.”

©2021, Denise Shelton. All rights reserved.

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