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Gibbon Conservation Center planning move to Santa Margarita

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Posted at 5:48 PM, Mar 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 01:34:47-04

The Gibbon Conservation Center could soon be moving to the Central Coast.

Around three dozen apes known as gibbons may be moved to a ranch property in the 3900 block of Parkhill Road in Santa Margarita.

“We’ve been looking up and down California and it seems like the climate is going to be the best for the gibbons and the area seems just perfect,” said Alma Rodriguez, Gibbon Conservation Center Operations and Development Manager.

They’re currently located on five acres in Santa Clarita that they’ve been leasing for more than 40 years.

The potential new location in Santa Margarita, which spans 26 acres, is in escrow.

“We’ll be able to spread the gibbons out a little bit more,” Rodriguez explained. “We'll be able to expand their enclosures and there's a greenhouse there where we can grow some of the food for the gibbons.”

The center does educational tours for students about the endangered species.

Native to Southeast Asia, there are 20 different species of gibbons and the center houses five of them.

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“Each species is really unique in that they sing their own unique territorial call each morning so it's incredibly beautiful,” Rodriguez said.

“I think it's fabulous,” said Diana Iorillo Corrales. “We need some more animals.”

Some neighbors who didn’t want to go on camera expressed concerns over fire danger in the area, an increase in traffic, and the potential noise from the animals.

According to the nonprofit’s website, the gibbon's voice can be heard up to two miles away and it’s the loudest land mammal on earth.

“I mean, we're within a mile but even still I think it would be really hard for us to hear anything going on at that ranch,” said Melissa Shiffrar of Santa Margarita.

The County Department of Planning and Building tells us they’re scheduled to have a meeting in late April with the center to discuss the required permitting.

At this time, a permit application has not been submitted but when it does, the county says it’ll have more information about any public hearings that would be involved in the process.

The center tells KSBY the goal is to have the facility up and running by the fall of this year.

Anyone in the community can visit the center. It’s by donation or $15 per adult and $5 for kids.