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Roosters on steroids 

Imagine that a new neighbor moves in with an obnoxious rooster that crows night and day without stop. Now imagine that your neighbor moves in with 40 obnoxious roosters with the intent to breed more of them.

Well folks, it turns out there is an animal louder than a rooster and it's called a gibbon. It's an ape that looks like a small monkey. They are the loudest animals on planet Earth! They greet the sun each day and begin to howl. This continues throughout the day and night.

Gibbons earned the designation of the loudest animal on the planet for good reason: Their communication takes place at 100 decibels, far exceeding the SLO County rural sound ordinances of 64 decibels. These animals are like roosters on steroids. The sound of their call can travel 2 miles or more, which would affect an area of 12.5 square miles. Given how sound travels through our canyons and valleys, I would predict that an even larger area will be affected.

This species is not native to our area. They are sensitive and require a tropical climate. In an attempt to re-create this, the caretakers must provide constant misting throughout the scorching summer months (described as one of the downfalls of their existing location, see their website for relocation funds). The well on the proposed location on Parkhill Road in Santa Margarita has always underperformed and will likely drain this precious resource from surrounding properties connected by a common aquifer.

These creatures need access to the forest canopy. Gibbons have the ability to leap 50 feet in the air. Their caretakers currently house them in 20- to 25-foot high chain-link cages with random tree branches and logs for them to swing and perch on. The enclosures are essentially glorified bird cages (see YouTube videos of the Gibbon Center). Gibbons live for 40 to 50 years in captivity. When bred in captivity as these animals are, they can never be released in the wild. They deserve a proper habitat in an official zoo and should not be bred for use in an exotic animal roadside attraction.

Laura Hobbs

Santa Margarita

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