A conservation center in Santa Clarita has been quietly saving an endangered species of ape for 40 years, and a few weeks ago a new baby was born, giving new hope that the gibbon will live on.
A sound that rings out over Bouquet Canyon comes from a 15-acre compound known as Gibbon Conservation Center. Gibbon apes — an endangered species — sing out their song to let the world know this is their territory.
The tribe has a brand new arrival, born eight weeks ago to mama Tuk and papa Domino.
The baby hasn't been named yet, but he's giving new hope to this ever-dwindling ape population.
"He's currently nursing off mom," said the center's operations manager, Alma Rodriguez. "In the next few months he will start stealing food off mom and try to eat on his own. We will give him food and to keep them healthy we feed eight times a day."
Rodriguez says these apes originally from the rain forests in southeast Asia are quickly dying off due to the destruction of the rain forest. So conservation and breeding programs like this one are the only hope for this species to survive.
The new baby is a pileated gibbon. There are only about 47,000 left in the wild. But Tuk is doing her part to keep the species going, already having given birth to two others, including baby Boo, who lives in the same enclosure with the rest of the family.
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"She is a great mom and she puts Domino in his place if he ever needs it," Rodriguez says. "She can be sassy, sometimes steals food out of Domino's mouth."
The conservation center is open for tours on the weekends, in the hope that the more people who know about their plight, the better their chances at survival.
"Have them come out and see the gibbons and what a loss it would be if they completely disappeared," Rodriguez says.
The conservation center has started a contest to name the new baby. Entries can be made at gibboncenter.org for $1.