Gibbon Conservation Center, Santa Clarita

#4 of 16 in Things to do in Santa Clarita
Wildlife Area · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
The Gibbon Conservation Center was founded in 1976 in Santa Clarita, California, USA, by Alan Richard Mootnick. It is the only facility in the world devoted exclusively to gibbons, an increasingly rare ape. We work for the endangered gibbons' benefit through conservation, propagation and study, and by teaching people about them. GCC houses, on average, 40 gibbons, among them 5 of the 17 living species:

Nomascus l. leucogenys (northern white-cheeked gibbon)

Hylobates pileatus (pileated gibbon)

Symphalangus syndactylus (siamang)

Hoolock leuconedys (eastern hoolock gibbon)

Hylobates moloch (Javan gibbon)

About Gibbons:

Gibbons are classified in the Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Chordata, Subphylum Vertebrata, Class Mammalia, Order Primates, Superfamily Hominoidea (Gray, 1825) and Family Hylobatidae. Gibbons are small, arboreal apes distributed in the wild in the tropical and subtropical rainforests of Southeast, South and East Asia. They are currently found in small populations in China, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Bangladesh, NE India, Myanmar, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Most countries consider them to be endangered, and they are threatened primarily by loss of their forest habitat. Other factors contributing to their demise include the illegal wildlife trade, the use of their body parts in the manufacture of traditional medicines, and poaching.

Gibbons have long fascinated scientists and lay people because of their agility in the forest tree tops. Gibbons are excellent brachiators (arm-swingers), and this is one reason they make popular zoo exhibits. In the wild, gibbons live in nuclear families consisting of a mated pair and their dependent offspring. The family unit occupies a territory, and they defend its boundaries by a vigorous vocal and visual display. The vocal display consists of a spectacular, bird-like duet between the mated pair, with the young occasionally joining in. This vocalization, or song, is audible for long distances and is the primary way scientists (and poachers) locate wild populations. This haunting melody has become part of the folklore of the indigenous people of Southeast Asia.

There are 17 living gibbon species, whose coloration range from cream to brown, gray and black. In some species the males and females have a sex-specific coloration. The color of infants of some species are different from the adults. The 17 species are categorized in 4 genera: Nomascus, Symphalangus, Hoolock, and Hylobates.

Native to the dwindling rain forests of Southeast Asia, gibbons are arboreal and considered to be among the world's greatest acrobats. They have the ability to swing from tree to tree distances of 50 feet, at speeds of up to 35 mph, while in trees 200 feet above the ground. This mode of locomotion--swinging under branches while suspended by their hands--is called brachiating. Gibbons are one of the few monogamous primates, and whether on the ground or in the trees, they are known for their dexterity and ability to walk upright. Often referred to as the "songbirds" of the primate family and the most musical land mammal, gibbons can project their voices up to 2 miles through the dense rainforest canopy. Unfortunately, their natural habitat is being destroyed at the alarming rate of 32 acres per minute! This destruction shall guarantee the disappearance of their melodious songs as well.

Would you like to help GCC in our mission to save the gibbons?

A small donation is a huge helping hand. Help us save an endangered species. Several gibbon species are on the brink of extinction. We need your help to ensure the survival of these magnificent creatures. Donations may be sent payable to GCC to:

Gibbon Conservation Center PO Box 800249 Santa Clarita, CA 91380 USA
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59 reviews
  • Gibbon Conservation Center is a great place to visit on a weekend. Their hours are limited (Sat & Sun, 9:30 - noon). The staff is knowledgeable and helpful. When the gibbons begin "singing"... oh.....  more »
  • This is a small but amazing place. The Gibbons are endangered and the center helps to keep them from becoming extinct. They have a new baby there. The work these people are doing is so important. Please visit and support them.
  • The Apes put on a chorus today, interrupting our 10am tour guide but it was awesome! Our guide was excellent. You can tell she loves the Gibbons and they are very well cared for. More people need to know about this is just minutes from The Gentle Barn, which gets so much more traffic. The conservation of these endangered apes is so important! I will definitely be back again!

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