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The mission of the Gibbon Conservation Center is to prevent the extinction of this endangered, small SE Asian ape, and to advance its study, propagation and conservation by establishing secure captive gene pools in case attempts to preserve species or subspecies in the wild fail. We provide a safe haven for all gibbon species as a complement to protecting them in the wild. We educate the public, assist zoos and rescue centers in better captive management, encourage noninvasive behavioral studies, and support ongoing field conservation projects.
The Gibbon Conservation Center (GCC) was founded in 1977 in southern 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 nearly 40 gibbons, among them 5 of the 13 living species: Nomascus l. leucogenys (white-cheeked gibbon), Hylobates pileatus (pileated gibbon), Symphalangus syndactylus (siamang), Hylobates agilis (agile gibbon), Hylobates moloch (Javan gibbon). GCC specializes in non-invasive, behavioral studies on gibbons, collected by students, scientists and volunteers working at the Center. Several mated pairs have produced offspring, making an important contribution to the world's captive gibbon population, both in terms of numbers and in the genetic diversity of the species. Offspring are housed at the Center in species-typical family units until they reach adulthood. At that time, they are removed from the family and housed with a mate, which imitates what normally happens in the wild. GCC also offers advice, free of charge, to zoos, government agencies and gibbon rescue centers throughout the world. A portion of donations received by GCC is given to projects devoted to the conservation of wild gibbon populations, especially those in Java, India, Kalimantan, China and Vietnam. The Hainan black-crested gibbon (Nomascus sp. cf. nasutus hainanus), found only on Hainan Island off the coast of China, is considered to be the most endangered known primate. There are approximately 20 individuals left on the island! Also nearly extinct is the Eastern black-crested gibbon (Nomascus sp. cf. nasutus nasutus), of NE Vietnam, east of the Red River. There are also approximately only 20 of these gibbons left, making these two gibbons the rarest primates on earth. We welcome students and other groups for educational tours, by appointment, who are interested in learning about these fascinating apes. Tour information is at www.gibboncenter.org/tours.htm.
- Melissa Smith
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