WallStreetsBets Is Sending Gorilla Conservation to the Moon ๐Ÿš€๐Ÿš€๐Ÿš€๐Ÿš€๐Ÿš€๐Ÿš€

Photo: Jorge Guerrero (Getty Images)

The WallStreetBets subreddit has helped driveย $383,000 in donations to a gorilla conservation organization this week. The preceding sentence would have been barely intelligible even justย last December, and yet here we are.


To quickly recap: In January, folks on the subreddit r/WallStreetBets captured headlines for buying up shares in GameStopโ€™s stock as well as other oft-memed firms like AMC Theaters. A number of hedge funds had shorted GameStop, banking on the price of its stock plunging, which would, perversely, allow them to make money. The surge of Redditors buying Gamestop and others who wanted in on the investing frenzy caused stock prices to soar, though, screwing over the hedge funds shorting the company while also allowing some Redditors and individual investors to get very rich. (Some everyday people were also left very screwed.)

WallStreetBets folks have long referred to themselves as โ€œapesโ€โ€”itโ€™s a kind of inside joke based on the memeification of Harambe, the gorilla who was shot to death in 2016 at the Cincinnati Zoo after a kid fell into his enclosure. Always ones to commit to a bit, theyโ€™ve been donating to efforts to save other apes.

Many have been donating to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, an international charity devoted to funding the conservation, protection, and study of gorillas in Africa. The organization usually receives 20 donations in an average weekend from people looking to symbolically adopt gorillas, but since this past Saturday, it said itโ€™s received thousands of adoption donations totaling more than $383,000. Many of the adoptions were made using fake names made to throw shade at hedgefund managers: A thread on the subreddit called โ€œThis MFer is probably is richer than me right nowโ€ shows certificates made out to โ€œJim Cramerโ€™s Tearsโ€ and โ€œFuck Melvin Capital.โ€ Yeah, this isnโ€™t the systemic change we need to save endangered species, but itโ€™s kind of tight considering gorillas are on the decline due to habitat degradation by industry, poaching, industry, and climate change.

This was such a big deal for the charity that its president and CEO Tara Stoinski (more like Stonksy, am I right?) recorded a video message specifically for the Redditors. The group also shouted them out on their webpage by adding the hashtag #ApesTogetherStrong and making a limited edition line of merch featuring it along the symbols for diamond hands. The slogan is curbed from a meme based on the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but WallStreetBets members use to describe their collective action to outsmart rich hedge funders.

The WallStreetBets Redditors have been donating to other animal conservation organizations, too. The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust saw a $10,000 spike in donations last weekend, including the adoption of an orphaned elephant in Kenya. Members have also sent money to the Orangutan Project and otherย charities.

โ€œFucking love this community,โ€ one WallStreetBets user wrote. โ€œI mean, honestly, can you ever possibly imagine that somewhere on Wall Street or in Chicago they even have a tiny scrap of a post-it dedicated to anything more than just their own fucking money?โ€


Earther staff writer. Blogs about energy, animals, why we shouldn't trust the private sector to solve the climate crisis, etc. Has an essay in the 2021 book The World We Need.


City Hunter

The shirt they created actually looks nice.ย  I bought two.