Environment

Huge surge in adopting gorillas as pets to save them from extinction

Reddit users donated $256,000 (£184k) in one weekend

While having a gorilla swing around your flat as you cook up spag bol might not sound like the most practical thing, that’s not to say you can’t have one as a pet.

Instead, your ape would simply live a few thousand miles away in Rwanda.

This is exactly what the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund are hoping to achieve, for members of the public to adopt the wild animals while they protect and stabilise their tiny population.

Their wish was granted last week when a huge surge of adoptions took place thanks to a flurry of donations from the WallStreetBets community of over $256,000 (£184k).

[Credit: Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund]

The WallStreetBets community are members of a Reddit page that recently rose to fame battling a hedge fund over the future of much-loved retail chain GameStop.

While they used their expertise to influence the stock market, you can’t buy stocks over the weekend, so they turned their attentions to the gorillas instead by adopting them in large numbers.

It all kicked-off after one user shared that they had adopted a gorilla and sent a donation to the organisation, before the post went viral and triggered a multitude of copycat donations.

[Credit: Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund]

Touched by the outpouring of love, the organisation’s social media team tweeted their gratitude, saying they were “overwhelmed” by the level of support.

The impromptu gifting also caught the eye of the fund’s director Dr Tara Stoinski, who said she was elated people has reached into their pockets to save our furry friends.

Dr Stoinski said: “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.”

Speaking to Insider, Dr Stoinski added: “We rely on individual donors because they know we can be relied upon to be careful stewards of their donations, no matter how large or small.”

[Credit: Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund]

One of the main reasons gorillas are going extinct is due to habitat loss, as the forests in which they live are being destroyed for agricultural use. They are also hunted in parts of Africa where the consumption of ape meat is considered prestigious amongst the elite.

This is especially tragic when you consider that gorillas are deemed to be highly intelligent creatures that are capable of living rich emotional lives and developing strong family bonds.

Dian Fossey, who is considered one of the most legendary scientists of our time, went to Africa to begin her groundbreaking studies of gorilla behaviour back in the 1960s. While she faced many obstacles, and ultimately lost her life to the brutality of poachers, her work continues to this day.

If all this gorilla-tastic talk has got you thinking you’d like to help too, then adopting your own starts from $60 (£43), which includes yearly updates on your new pet.

For more info, click here: Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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