Last week, a member of the subreddit community r/Wallstreetbets shared an image of a mountain gorilla they had adopted from the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. It kicked off a mass campaign that resulted in the adoption of more than 3,500 endangered gorillas and $350,000 raised in donations to the charity, according to the BBC.
Reddit users in r/Wallstreetbets typically focus on financial trading, making headlines earlier this year when they decided to invest in GameStop, the video game retailer that several Wall Street hedge funds had bet against. Acting collectively, these amateur traders instead sent the stock soaring.
Several people donated the funds they made from investing in GameStop to good causes, buying food or packs of crayons to give to local schools. Now, r/Wallstreetbets has turned its attention to endangered gorillas.
"I was just made aware that you have been adopting gorillas on our website and I just wanted to say thank you so much for this incredible support,” said Dr. Tara Stoinski, president and CEO of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, in a video to the subreddit community. “It will go a long way in helping our important mission."
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International is a conservation organization and research center dedicated to the protection and study of gorillas and their habitats in Africa. There are just over 1,000 mountain gorillas left on the planet due to uncontrolled hunting, habitat loss, and the ravages of human conflict, according to Smithsonian magazine. Climate change and disease are also factors.
Gorillas are herbivores. One of their favorite foods is bamboo! What’s your favorite food?— Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund (@SavingGorillas) March 16, 2021
📸: Nadia Niyonizeye pic.twitter.com/X3LeyMMVqo
For this reason, the conservation organization asks people to donate to their fund or adopt a gorilla to contribute to its mission to study habitats and ensure the protection of gorillas for generations to come.
This latest act of giving from r/Wallstreetbets may have been inspired by the community’s fondness for the phrase “Apes Together, Strong,” a reference to the movie War for the Planet of the Apes. Users often refer to each other as “apes” in the community when encouraging collective action.
Several users have responded to the adoption campaign with talks of doing more, according to Newsweek.
"I like this trend. Come on my fellow apes, let's buy them a rainforest," wrote one user.
"Inspired by the rest of the subreddit, I adopted a gorilla," wrote another.
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International shared on Twitter that donations and adoptions are still coming in, many from people outside r/Wallstreetbets who were inspired by the group’s cause.