Dear Friends of the Gibbon Conservation Center,
With the end of 2019 rapidly approaching, I would like to take a moment to share with you both the notable and challenging highlights of this past year.
Unfortunately, to start with, I must share some sad news. You might remember that last year we reported about Win Bo's dire health. It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that despite all of our efforts, he didn't pull through. While still mourning the loss of Win Bo, an Eastern Hoolock gibbon, in January, we noticed Chloe, an older Javan gibbon, had labored breathing. She was eating but snubbing less desirable food like squash. We rushed her to the hospital for what we thought might be bronchitis. The team of specialists informed us that she had both kidney and heart failure. We decided to bring her home so that she could spend what little time she had left with Ivan and Goliath. She was singing and enjoying special food the day before, but her last morning, she became lethargic. We brought her inside, but before the vet could arrive, she died in our arms. Chloe was a protective and loving mother. She had lived almost all her life at the GCC, and raised six offspring, including Goliath. Many of us have special memories of her.
Thank you to our Gibbon Guardians, who donate to the GCC every month to help us care for the gibbons. This special fund assists us in paying medical bills, including hospital visits, medications, supplements, and preventive exams. We can't win every battle, but we strive to provide exceptional care to our gibbons, some with chronic illnesses. We have 14 monthly donors. Will you be our next Gibbon Guardian?
In the spring, with help of two volunteer groups from the Cal Poly Pomona Zoology Club and the University of Monterey Anthropology Club, we took apart and relocated Shelby's enclosure. At its new location, Shelby, our aging Javan gibbon, can have visual and tactile contact with his son, Winston.
We thoroughly enjoyed hosting numerous events this year. It is always such a pleasure meeting all of our supporters and sharing our love of gibbons. In addition to our yearly Breakfast with the Gibbons, we held Yoga with the Gibbons, and we hosted our first-ever ApeArt Painting Party. We look forward to sharing the 2020 calendar of events with you, so keep an eye on your inbox.
Our largest offsite event of the year was the screening of the documentary “Violet is Blue: a Tale of Gibbons and Guardians”directed by Alex Azmi. The movie has received numerous awards and was screened in several international film festivals. Thank you, Alex, for capturing and showing the world our unique story and the gibbons. We also would like to thank Alex, the director, and Michael Thau, the producer and editor, for hosting the venue and food during the screening at the LA Film School. For future updates about the film and screenings, you can go to the website: https://www.violetisbluedoc.com/
While some of you may already know, we are happy to share that on June 8, our gibbon population grew. Anastasia Jolie, a critically endangered northern white-cheeked gibbon, was born from mother, Astriks, and father, Pierre. She is our ninth offspring from this rare species. We had a blazing hot summer. Following one of the many heatwaves, all of our high-pressure pumps failed and we kept the gibbons cool by hosing down their enclosures every half hour.
Thankfully Robin Leslie Wimsatt, a GCC volunteer, funded the repair, which helped both the gibbons and the staff.However, once the heatwave ended, October brought severe fire conditions. The Tick Fire, which started on October 24, was less than three miles away from the Center, filling our skies with dark smoke. After consulting with the local fire captain, we determined we didn't have to evacuate. But we were without power for three days, with an emergency generator to run some of our necessary and essential equipment and appliances. Regrettably, some of our appliances' circuit boards got damaged from the power surge. Luckily, our community came to our help and raised funds to repair our commercial refrigerator and purchase a used washer & dryer. Additionally, a former volunteer, Joshua Alvarez, donated a new stove. Thank you, everyone!
At last, we have exciting news to share! After a long search, we found a suitable place for the new Gibbon Conservation Center. It is located in Lompoc, has 20 acres, a house, and other structures. It has enough space not just to relocate the Center but to grow and build a world-class primate center, with spacious enclosures for the gibbons, an on-site hospital, a recovery room, library, and classroom. The climate is far more suitable for the gibbons, without extremes of heat or cold. We are discussing the process for getting a permit with the local zoning department, and it looks very promising. The property is listed for $1.4 million. We need to raise $1 million for a significant down payment so that we can afford a lower mortgage. We have less than 20 months in which to purchase the property, construct the new Center and relocate the gibbons.
Relocating the Center will be an enormous task, but this is the only way we can ensure the GCC's long-term survival. With your contributions, we have raised $51,000. This has helped us kick-start the funding campaign and made us a better candidate for future grants as it shows we have strong community support.
We are inspired by the progress to date and have set a new goal that only you can help us achieve. Can you help us DOUBLE this amount and reach over $100,000 by the end of 2019? We must make an offer on the property before we lose it. Therefore, we need the money for a down payment now. Donate to our cause! Donate to our future!
While we are preparing to move, life doesn't stop at the Gibbon Center. We are working on finishing Pepper and Nate's new enclosure and look forward to introducing the two. We are building an extension for Iszie, Tuk's 8-year-old daughter, so that she can start her independent life. In April, we plan to attend two conferences. I am going to present at the British Forum for Ethnomusicology on tracing the evolution of human musical behavior in gibbons. Alma and Jesse will present at the 3rd International Gibbon Husbandry and Conservation Conference in Vietnam.We are also about to embark on another exciting project. Reg, Medina, and Perak, three of our Javan gibbons, will be going on a journey back to the wild. They are going to be part of a repatriation and reintroduction program in Java through the Aspinall Javan Primate Conservation Program. As you can see, we are always working on something. I am grateful for Alma, Jodi, and Jesse for their dedication, hard work, and inspiring new ideas. Thank you for being in this project with me through everything: fires, rain, mud, challenges and triumphs.
I am also thankful for our volunteers. We couldn't exist without them! Our Board of Directors helps us keep this place running. Finally, thank you to you, our community, for your continued support. Please be on the lookout for future events and updates on our move.
We wish you a happy holiday season!
Gabi, the Staff, and the Gibbons
19100 Esguerra Road, Santa Clarita, CA 91390
(Near Lombardi Ranch in Saugus)
PO Box 800249, Santa Clarita, CA 91380
Direct Line: 661-296-2737
E-mail Address: Info@gibboncenter.org