No monkey here! Reddit Citizen Investors Bet Big on Atlanta-based Dian Fossey’s Gorilla Fund


In another move that took the world by surprise, Redditors recently launched a new campaign to donate to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, an Atlanta-based nonprofit. The organization, named after the late primatologist and conservationist Dian Fossey, is dedicated to various gorilla efforts in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Atlanta-based nonprofit funds and creates numerous education, research, protection, and conservation programs that support gorilla populations.

The Reddit social media platform is a “people’s interest-based community network.” One of its most notable subreddit communities, r / WallStreetBets (WSB), is a group of citizen investors best known for triggering the GameStop share squeeze last January. The hedge funds had bet against GameStop, but WSB users decided to buy shares in the company, pushing the share price higher. The motto of WSB is #apestogetherstrong, from the movie “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”, in which we have characters say: “The apes are strong together”.

One of the BMS members recently tweeted that he donated money to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, which allows people to symbolically adopt a gorilla. The message spread like wildfire, prompting thousands of BMS members to donate more than $ 350,000 to adopt 3,500 endangered mountain gorillas in just six days – a welcome surprise for the Fund, which typically receives around 20 adoptions over a typical weekend. The first gorilla to be adopted by WSB, of course, was called GameStop.

Dr Tara Stoinski, CEO and Scientific Director of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund was delighted, saying the money will be used for their field programs that “track, monitor and study gorillas in their natural habitats”. In an interview with the BBC, Dr Stoinski said: “They have really made a difference to our world and shown what can be accomplished when people come together. When we save gorillas and save forests, we save our world. “

Dr Stoinski is a primatologist specializing in gorilla behavior. She spent a number of years researching gorillas at the Atlanta Zoo and earned her doctorate. in Psychology from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She also holds a Masters in Biology from the University of Oxford in the UK.

The adoptive “parents” of Dian Fossey’s gorillas receive a photograph, adoption certificate and personalized video of their animal, which they can also rename. Adoption fees range from $ 60 to $ 150, which the NPO uses to study and protect gorillas in Rwanda in east-central Africa.

Why is it so important to support gorillas? The answer is that only around 900 mountain gorillas survive, being decimated not only by poaching and hunting, but by the destruction of their habitat. Poor local communities cut trees for firewood or to use the land for cultivation. This has put enormous pressure on the survival of the gorillas and daily intervention is required to protect them from extinction.

Dian Fossey, who started the Fund, spent 20 years in Rwanda, until she was murdered by poachers on December 26, 1985. After her death, the Fund opened its North American headquarters in Atlanta, partnership with the Atlanta Zoo.

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Shawn Beecher

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