Holly Thompson admits she probably spends more time than she should talking about and to the gibbons at Perth Zoo.
After spending about a decade caring for the small fluffy apes, it is not unusual to find the primate keeper chatting to the animals in their enclosure.
"They become part of your family and I guess that's what makes me even more passionate about helping our wild cousins," she said.
Ms Thompson works tirelessly to help the critically endangered white-cheeked gibbon and endangered silvery gibbon through the zoo's regional breeding program.
The 30-year-old is also vice-president of the Silvery Gibbon Project, which raises money for the conservation of the primate.
The true extent of her devotion to gibbons became apparent to everyone around her when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2009.
Instead of sitting at home feeling sorry for herself, she continued to turn up at work, taking the odd sick day only when her treatment became unbearable.
"I never thought why me because I've seen first-hand just how harsh the world can be on people and animals living in certain communities throughout the world," she said.
"There were some hard times but coming in and seeing the animals made me feel so much better."
Ms Thompson often visits the Silvery Gibbon Project's rescue centre in Java, which rehabilitates gibbons that have been sourced on the black market and kept as pets.
She said there was a 50 per cent chance the silvery gibbon would become extinct within the next decade.
Ms Thompson shared her passion for gibbons with about 100 guests at Perth Zoo's inaugural Wild Women networking event yesterday.
Proceeds from the event went into the zoo's wildlife conservation action fundraising program.To support WCA, go to www.perthzoo.com.au