Spanky Features: Gibbon Conservation Center

We are delighted to add the Gibbon Conservation Center (GCC) to our list of Animal Care organizations supported by Saving Spanky Event Planning! Clients who hire us to coordinate their events can choose the GCC as the recipient of a donation made in their name by Saving Spanky Events.

The GCC is an animal conservation and education center located in Santa Clarita, California. It is dedicated exclusively to the small Asian ape, the gibbon, and houses the most varied group of gibbons in the Western Hemisphere. The average population of the GCC is approximately 40 gibbons, housed in family groups.


The GCC was founded by Alan Mootnick (January 23, 1951–November 4, 2011) who became a leading authority on gibbons despite having no formal training in the biological sciences. Mootnick acquired his first gibbon (a former pet) in 1976.

In a bit of wonderful synchronicity the gibbon’s name was [Wait for it.......]


GCC Founder Alan Mootnick and his first rescue, Spanky.


To promote the conservation, study and care of gibbons through public education and habitat preservation.

The goals of the GCC include:

  • to help ensure the conservation and survival of all gibbon species in the wild and in captivity

  • to provide a haven for all gibbon species as a complement to protecting them in the wild

  • to educate the public and share knowledge on gibbons with the scientific community, rehabilitation centers, and zoos

  • to support ongoing field conservation projects


The Center is run by a small staff of 3. (Well, really 3 ½! See Orien’s photo below.)

Gabriella (Gabi) Skollar – Center Director

Gabriella (Gabi) Skollar worked with the founder, Alan Mootnick for several years until his passing. Gabi has been working for the GCC since 2005. She graduated in 2004 with a Master’s degree in Biology at the University of Szeged, in Hungary. In November 2011, after the passing of Alan Mootnick, the Founder of the GCC, Gabriella became responsible for the day-to-day care and health of the gibbons, and the supervision of other caregivers, maintenance staff and volunteers. In 2014, January Gabriella became the Director of the GCC. Gabriella is an active participant in the gibbon zoological, conservation, and scientific communities worldwide.

Alma Rodriguez – Operations Manager

Alma is a graduate of California Polytechnic University in Pomona, CA with a BS degree in Animal Science as well as a minor in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management. She holds an Event Planning certificate from Cal Poly Pomona, the Extended University and has been featured on TV & radio, including an online article by Nat Geo about the GCC. In 2015 she visited Java to see both the field and release sites of the Javan gibbons and meet with key individuals in their in-situ program. Alma has developed the off-site and on-site education programs and has been called on to speak to local elementary school children. She is currently working on expanding and improving those programs to continue to make them a valuable resource to the community.

Tiffany – Primate Care Specialist

Tiffany graduated from Channel Islands University in 2017 with a BS in Anthropology. In 2017 she received recognition on a paper presented in regard to captive gibbon’s response to predators. She has also participated in and led multiple archaeological digs. Tiffany gives tours of the center, feeds gibbons, trains volunteers and oversees Girl Scout and Eagle Scout Projects.

Orien – Caregiver in Training

Orien started working at the Gibbon Center in 2015. He has put in his hours on various tasks under the supervision of GCC staff.


The GCC is always happy to have volunteers to help with a variety of tasks. Check out the opportunities we can offer!

If you would like to help out please contact

A Gibbon Family Portrait: Tuk with her boys Boo and Howard


We are happy to have you visit!

The GCC is open to the public every Saturday & Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

A guided tour is offered at 10:00 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

No reservations are needed!

NOTE: We are closed on rainy days and some major holidays.


$10 for seniors

$15 for adults

$12 for students and teens

$5 for children 6 – 12 years of age

$0 for children 5 and under

CLICK HERE to find more


Your contributions go a long way

There are many ways to donate to the Gibbon Conservation Center!

Donate your time! Donate your skills and talents! Donate unused tools! Donate through your workplace! Donate when you buy groceries!

All contributions are tax deductible as provided by law. 100% of all contributions go directly to the care of gibbons, including on-site care, education and world-wide conservation efforts.

CLICK HERE to find out how you can be a part of the GCC Family



We encourage on-site visits to the Gibbon Center. The Center currently houses 40 gibbons. On arrival you will receive a 30 min - 1hr+ tour of the Center, depending on the age and interest level of the group. During the tour of the Center, students will get to see 5 species of gibbons, hear stories about the individuals and families housed at the Center, and of course watch the gibbons while they eat, play & sunbathe. Students will learn why it is so important to practice conservation by seeing animals that are currently impacted by deforestation. At some unexpected moment, as they do every day, the gibbons will begin to sing their territorial call. You can choose to have your group participate in an activity, if time permits. We also allow lunch in our picnic area, provided you pick up the trash and are vigilant in keeping the area clean.


​We have developed a program that can be offered for every grade level. Each lesson is specifically tailored to the CA Common Core Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. We have already done all the work of identifying the criteria that each lesson meets. In order for your students to truly get the most out of the program, we suggest you use all 3 lessons. This includes one recommended field trip to the Gibbon Conservation Center, along with two offsite lessons at your school. It is set up for a Pre-visit, On-site, & Post-visit. If the field trip is not an option, three lessons can be given at the school. The lessons take about 45 minutes and can be administered to multiple classes or grade levels in the same day. If you would like to attempt to teach the lessons yourself, we have a recommended reading list and are happy to answer any questions you may have. Some teachers have even chosen to expand the program by expanding on the concept of conservation. Any way you choose, we will do our best to help. Please feel free to take a look at the lessons and our blog. Our goal is to make this journey fun, so ask us if you have questions and share if you have any suggestions!