Wikimedia Commons | Azurfrog

Reddit Investors Come Together To Save 3,500 Gorillas Over Six Days

In all likelihood, you've heard the buzz about Reddit's r/wallstreetbets community in the wake of the big push its members made earlier this year.

To fully explore what happened is to go down an ongoing and increasingly complicated rabbit hole, but CNBC outlined it as a significant portion of the community's 3 million strong membership (which has since ballooned to 9.5 million) deciding to invest in Gamestop and AMC stocks, which respectively inflated share prices by 1,700% and 300%.

While some members were able to make serious money by doing this, the goal was to "squeeze" hedge funds who were hoping to short sell those companies and other troubled brands and profit off their failure. Some consider the actions of r/wallstreetbets market manipulation while others see them as beating Wall Street at its own game, but it's clear that they've brought an unprecedented chaotic energy to the stock market.

And while individuals members have opted to do some good with their gains before, the community at large has recently taken a similarly effective and unpredictable approach to philanthropy.

To understand the community's motivations behind what we're about to discuss, one must first understand a piece of internal lingo within r/wallstreetbets.

Reddit | NationalismBro

According to the BBC, many of this subreddit's members have taken to calling each other "apes."

Depending on who you ask, this is either a Planet of the Apes reference meant to inspire confidence in the group's collective power with the motto "apes together strong," or a joke about the group's "monkeys at typewriters" approach to investing.

In either case, this nickname has helped the group develop a fondness for primates — particularly gorillas — and inspired them to apply the "apes together strong" motto to real-life apes.

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So when one member posted a thread on March 12 announcing they had adopted a gorilla through the Dian Fossey Gorilla fund, their idea caught on quickly.

Wikimedia Commons | Azurfrog

So quickly, in fact, that the fund CNN Business reported as typically seeing about 20 adoptions in a weekend could count them in the thousands by the time Monday rolled around.

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At the time of this writing, r/wallstreetbets have come together to adopt 3,500 gorillas from the Dian Fossey Gorilla fund.

Reddit | CStorkRun

According to the BBC, that amounts to over $350,000 in donations to the organization.

That's already an impressive number before you realize that this initiative not only happened completely organically but that it only took them six days to raise these funds.

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But while the wisdom of the community's investment in "meme stocks" is up for debate, channeling their efforts into gorilla conservation is an ecologically sound strategy.

Wikimedia Commons | MONUSCO Photos.jpg)

In a statement obtained by CNN Business, the Dian Fossey fund identified gorillas as an important member of the Congo Basin ecosystem, which encompasses the second largest rainforest in the world and serves as a natural defense against climate change.

As the organization put it, "When we save gorillas, we save the planet. How's that for #ROI?"

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In response to the community's generosity, the fund's CEO Tara Stoinsk recorded a video thanking them for their "incredible support."

Reddit | kampingcarl

Her message was shared to the community in a post that has received 159,000 upvotes at the time of this writing.

As the organization said in their statement, "It's safe to say that the investor community on Reddit is not traditionally who we think of as our supporter base. But they definitely surprised and overwhelmed us over the weekend."

True to the community's outsider reputation, one user summed the situation up by saying, "Harambe would be so proud of this..."

h/t: BBC, CNN Business

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