Step aside GameStop! Reddit investors set their sights on saving endangered wildlife by adopting 3,500 gorillas in a week
- Reddit forum behind GameStop drama ploughs cash into endangered wildlife
- Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and Sheldrick Wildlife Trust benefit from cash boost
- Reddit-based WallStreetBets forum send GameStop shares soaring this year
The Reddit-based group of investors who made GameStop a household name earlier this year have ploughed cash into helping save gorillas this week.
Reddit’s ‘WallStreetBets’ community has adopted around 3,500 gorillas and ploughed over $350,000, or over £250,000, into the Atlanta-based Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
Last month, Reddit’s WallStreetBets community forum sparked a trading frenzy which saw the share price of US-based retailer GameStop soar from $20 to around $350 at its peak.
Fresh focus: Reddit’s online-based ‘WallStreetBets’ community has ploughed cash into helping save gorillas this week
Speaking to This is Money, David Madden, an analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: ‘It appears the hoard of retail investors who went toe to toe with hedge funds over Gamestops have a humane side to them.’
Dr Tara Stoinski, president of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund paid tribute to the WallStreetBets forum by adding one of the channel’s many catchphrases, ‘apes together strong’ to the charity’s website.
She said: ‘In a typical weekend, we might get 20 new adoptions. They have made a real difference.’
Some of the adopted gorillas were given fictional names like ‘Jim Cramer’s Tears’, aimed at the Reddit forum’s recent GameStop-related market upset.
The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund said: ‘The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is surprised, thrilled and appreciative of the grassroots donations that have come our way thanks to a group of investors on Reddit.
‘The money these individuals have donated is an investment, not just in the Fossey Fund’s mission of ‘Helping People, Saving Gorillas’, but in our planet’s future.’
It added: ‘We rely on individual donors who give to us year after year because they know we can be relied upon to be careful stewards of their donations, no matter how large or small.
‘We thank these new donors for their contributions to the success of our mission – because in saving gorillas, we save the planet.’
It’s not just gorillas the WallStreetBets community has vowed to save. It has also poured cash into the Kenya-based Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, which is best-known for its elephant orphan rescue centre.
Speaking to This is Money, a spokesman for the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, said: ‘The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has been extremely fortunate to benefit from this community and we saw our online income on 14 March almost triple from a normal day, with an additional $10,000 generated on the day, which can predominantly be attributed to WSB and seemingly their gains from GME.’
What’s in a name?: Some of the adopted gorillas were given fictional names like ‘Jim Cramer’s Tears’, aimed at the Reddit forum’s recent GameStop-related market upset
Boost: The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund said it was ‘surprised, thrilled and appreciative of the grassroots donations’ from the Reddit WallStreetBets community
Wow: The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has benefited from the generosity of WSB investors
Giving back: Elephant orphans having a great time at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust site
Reddit’s WallStreetBets’ latest mission to help endangered wildlife seems to be a far cry from its most recent and best-known foray into the world of video game retailer GameStop.
Earlier this year, retail investors on Reddit’s WallStreetBets forum piled into heavily shorted names like GameStop to drive up the share price, in essence, to force the shorts out of their positions and ‘punish’ them with huge losses.
As a result of the forum’s actions, GameStop’s share price jumped over 1,000 per cent to over $350. It is now closer to the $212 mark.
A number of trading platforms like TD Ameritrade and Robin Hood ended up blocking all buying and sellers orders for GameStop shares at one point.
The likes of Hargreaves Lansdown also still display warnings about the potential dangers of speculative investing on their website platforms alongside GameStop information.
Surge: The Reddit WallStreetBets forum sent the share price of GameStop sky-high earlier this year
How threatened are gorillas in the wild?
Paul de Ornellas, chief adviser on Wildlife at WWF, told This is Money: ‘Nature is in freefall, and gorillas – like so many species – are faced with multiple threats, from habitat loss to poaching to illness resulting from contact with people.’
He added: ‘Just over forty years ago, there was an estimated 250 individual mountain gorillas in the wild, and today that figure is more than 1,000.
‘But, as the threat of the coronavirus pandemic has shown, there is no room for complacency; mountain gorillas remain a conservation dependent sub-species.’