While attending an online video conference in Los Angeles and becoming progressively more bored with the long, empty halls of the conference's hotel, documentary filmmaker Todd Bieber looked for a way to get out and give back. He found both in his extracurricular visit to The Gibbon Conservation Center, a home and advocate for the endangered arboreal apes.
Gibbons, he found, have a lot in common with their human caretakers. Center manager Neta Ambar recounted how they smile, giggle and even have their own personalities. They can also walk upright and communicate using vocalizations that sound almost musical, but perhaps far more impressive is their ability to brachiate by swinging between branches that can be as far as 40 feet apart.
Most gibbon species are listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List as endangered or critically endangered. The trees they swing from are also in danger: rainforests in the gibbons' native Southeast Asia are being chopped down at the difficult-to-fathom rate of 32 acres per minute.
The rate might be particularly alarming to some, considering the fact that, as Ambar said wryly in the video, rainforests "are the main source of the air we breathe, and we kind of need that."
Inspired by the work of the GCC, Bieber returned to the center, this time with four other YouTubers in tow. They each made a unique video about their visit to the center for their respective channels --one focused on ape-related idioms, another that remixed the gibbons' vocalizations into dubstep. All can be seen in this playlist.