Story at a glance
- Back in January, popular Reddit community r/WallStreetBets disrupted the stock market by purchasing massive amounts of GME and AMC shares.
- Their goal was to raise the value for themselves while deliberately keeping hedge fund managers, who had planned on ditching the failing companies, in a bind.
- Many of the community members recently used their monetary gains to donate to animal conservation charities, such as the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
Earlier this year, Redditors caused a stir when they started buying up stock in companies like Gamestop and AMC Theatres, as well as the cryptocurrency DogeCoin. Now, they’re making waves for another reason — some pretty massive charitable donations.
Last week, amateur investors from the now-infamous Reddit community called r/WallStreetBets (WSB) pulled their funds together to spend their gains on animal conservation. Species such as elephants, pangolins and sea turtles all benefited from the kindness of these amateur investors, but the group raised by far the most for gorilla conservation.
In less than six days WSB contributors were able to adopt a whopping 3,500 gorillas through the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, a charity first established by wildlife conservation icon Dian Fossey, which focuses on the protection of the endangered mountain gorilla. The foundation received more than $350,000 in donations during this six-day period from the Redditors.
Its president, Tara Stoinski, made a video to thank the community for their “incredible support,” and told BBC News that "they've truly made a difference for our world and shown what can be accomplished when people come together. When we save gorillas and we save forests, we save our world."
Stoinski shared that during a typical week the fund receives around 20 new gorilla adoptions, so receiving thousands of adoptions in such a short period of time was an incredible surprise.
“The support that has come to our organization, as well as others, is amazing,” said Stoinski. “One of the biggest challenges in conservation is just that there’s not enough funding for the challenges we face on the ground.”
Other wildlife-related charities such as The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, known for running an orphaned elephant rescue center in Kenya, noticed significant bumps in donations last week as well.
“Organisations like ours don’t manufacture and sell a product,” David Godfrey, the executive director of the Florida-based Sea Turtle Conservancy told The Guardian. “We’re not even selling a service to people; we’re not cutting hair, we’re not fixing their car. We are doing something for the betterment of the planet. In order to raise money to support what we do, you have to give people a nexus and the adoption programme is the thing that we can sell.”
If you would like to donate to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund to aid in their gorilla protection efforts, click here.
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