Santa Clarita’s Singing Apes Have Plenty to Celebrate!
Every day starts at dawn, with haunting calls that can be heard up to two miles away … as the gibbon families in residence announce their presence at the Gibbon Conservation Center, just off Bouquet Canyon in Saugus, near Lombardi Ranch.
The Gibbon Center houses more than 35 small apes in family groups, representing five unique gibbon species. Gibbons are native to southeast, east and south Asia. At the GCC, they live a peaceful (and sometimes remarkably loud) life, performing amazing acrobatics and singing their territorial songs.
Families are focused on raising their offspring, including from time to time, new infants that are proudly shown to visitors.
The Gibbon Center is open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to noon, except on rainy days. (Gibbons aren’t fond of rain and tend to not be visible during downpours.) No reservations are needed for the weekend public hours. A general tour starts each morning at 10:00 a.m.
The annual fundraiser, Breakfast with the Gibbons, is being held on Saturday, May 12 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. – with food, games and special events, along with a tour, an auction and a raffle.
The Gibbon Conservation Center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to observation and study of these rare apes. The GCC offers opportunities for anthropologists, primatologists, students of all ages, and the general public to enjoy and learn. The GCC is visited by scholars and animal enthusiasts from around the world.
Founded by Alan Richard Mootnick in 1976, the Gibbon Center is celebrating its 40th anniversary as a member of the Santa Clarita community. Mootnick and the GCC were instrumental in identifying and naming a distinct gibbon species – the eastern hoolock gibbon. The GCC is the only location in the western hemisphere with eastern hoolock families in residence, and offers visitors the only opportunity in the world to hear five species of gibbons sing their songs together.
The Gibbon Center provides a safe haven for rare gibbon species as a complement to protecting them in the wild. Their conservation efforts include establishing secure captive gene pools in case attempts to preserve species or subspecies in the wild fail.
Working in cooperation with reputable zoos around the world, the GCC works to improve the overall standard of care for captive gibbons. The GCC supports organizations in the gibbon home countries that focus on gibbon conservation.
The Gibbon Conservation Center offers volunteer and education opportunities for all ages. For more information on the GCC, go to the website at Gibboncenter.org or email [email protected]