Dear Friends of the Gibbon Conservation Center,
The clock is ticking on our ability to stay at our current (rented) location in Santa Clarita. Please help us find a new, safe home for this rare population of gibbons.
Your continued support over the past 40 years has enabled us to pursue our mission to promote the conservation, study, and care of gibbons through public education and habitat preservation. You are a vital part of the Gibbon Conservation Center. The GCC would not be here without you.
As you might remember, when our founder, Alan Mootnick, passed away in 2011, the GCC’s future looked uncertain. We lost ownership of our land, and in order to stay at our current location we had to start paying rent. This presented an unexpected financial burden, but at the time we could not fathom moving. Alan always dreamed of relocating closer to the coast and was actively looking for a more suitable property. When he died, the search for a property came to a halt as we fought for survival.
WE MADE MIRACLES HAPPEN!
We focused our attention on keeping the Center going! With our dedicated staff, volunteers, board members and donors, we made miracles happen! With community and grant support we repaired and enlarged many of our enclosures and began to build a new one. We installed a high-pressure misting system to cool and humidify the gibbons' habitat. A series of grants allowed us to create educational signage, develop an educational program, and offer field trips to under-served students. We opened our gates to weekend visitors to help our finances and to spread the word about gibbon conservation. We participated in conferences and workshops in both the zoological and conservation field to strengthen our ties within the primate community. We have taken part in several non-invasive studies and collaborated with researchers and students worldwide to improve our understanding of gibbon health and welfare. We are grateful to you for making all this possible.
THINGS ARE CHANGING! WE NEED TO MOVE!
Earlier this year we started negotiations with our landlord to purchase the 5-acre property the GCC is currently using. Unfortunately, we were unable to reach an agreement. We are currently at an impasse with the landlord and we do not foresee an ability to remain at this location much longer.
The land surrounding the Center is in the midst of a development boom. The open land that at one time provided the GCC with an ample buffer is slowly disappearing. As homes are built closer and closer to our facility, we are becoming increasingly limited in our ability to expand. The next planned housing development willextend right up to our property line, with high density housing not more that 500 feet from the gibbons, who are highly susceptible to increased dust and noise.
Additionally, there are serious limitations to our ability to improve our facility and offer more education and services at our current location. When we last renewed our permits with the LA County Department of Regional Planning (Zoning), they approved our application under the condition that we do not expand our facility beyond that which already exists. Furthermore, they changed our zoning from A2 to A1, which severely restricts how we can use this land. These strict zoning regulations make it unlikely we will get approval to build an on-site hospital, library, classroom, or housing for our researchers and interns.
Finally, with the weather getting more extreme, Santa Clarita’s arid climate is becoming less suitable for housing the gibbons. Our high-pressure misting system can cool their enclosures, but to do so we must have water in our well. During the most recent drought, wells in the Bouquet Canyon area were running dry. We were fortunate then that our well had enough water. We may not be as lucky next time. If our well runs dry, we will have to deliver water, at great cost, to cool the gibbons. A severe heatwave coupled with a drought would pose great danger to their health and safety.
OUR TIME IS RUNNING OUT! IT’S TIME TO MOVE!
The Gibbon Center’s survival depends on moving to a better location as soon as we are able to do so. We are looking at sites in a more temperate climate, such as San Diego, Santa Barbara, or Sonoma Counties. We will need at least 20 acres of usable land, a house, electricity, water, and a road wide enough for school buses and fire trucks to reach our facility. It is also imperative we have a buffer from neighboring properties so that other residents are not disturbed by the gibbons’ singing.
To buy land and relocate the GCC, we need to raise at least $750,000 to make a down payment and an additional $250,000 for the move. While we are raising funds to relocate, we also must continue securing funds for our daily operations, animal care and, unfortunately, rent. This is tremendous work for our small staff of two full-time & two part-time employees.
THE FUTURE OF THE GCC IS IN YOUR HANDS!
The GIBBON CENTER RELOCATION FUND will be used to purchase land, obtain permits, build the new infrastructure, and to move the gibbons. We desperately need your help to make this possible. Any donation will bring us closer to our goal of acquiring a permanent home for the GCC.
Besides financial support, you can also help by promoting our fundraising campaign and sharing it with others so we can reach more people. Together we can work to secure the Gibbon Conservation Center’s future, create safe habitat for the gibbons and build a facility that will serve the gibbons and the conservation community for years to come.
My sincerest gratitude,
The GCC is an internationally recognized organization in the field of gibbon research and conservation. We are among a handful of organizations around the world devoted to the protection of these small apes. The GCC provides consultation to zoos, museums, government agencies and individual scientists on species identification and gibbon care as well as assistance to gibbon rescue programs. Currently we house 38 gibbons encompassing 5 of the 20 different extant species.
If you are an experienced fundraiser or a grant writer and you have the time and energy to assist us, please reach out to us.
Ivan inspecting his shipping crate.