Video Gorilla Rescuing 3-Year-Old Boy at Brookfield Zoo in 1996

Video Gorilla Rescuing 3-Year-Old Boy at Brookfield Zoo in 1996

BROOKFIELD, Ill –  A little boy tumbled into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden Saturday in an incident reminiscent of a 1996 fall at another zoo — except for the outcome.

A female gorilla named Binti Jua made international headlines 20 years ago when she cradled a 3-year-old boy who had plummeted nearly 20 feet into her enclosure at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois.

On August 19, 1996, the boy, whose name was never released publicly, slipped away from his mother and climbed through a barrier at the Western Lowland Gorilla Pit.

Stunned spectators and employees looked on as Binti Jua, who was 8 years old at the time,  picked up the child’s limp body and cradled him for several minutes before carrying him to safety. Zoo workers who witnessed the rescue say it was something they will never forget.

Binti Jua carried her own baby, 17-month-old Koola, on her back during the entire ordeal while showing her maternal instincts.  One onlooker recorded video of the rescue and that video was seen around the world, turning Binta Jua into a beloved hero.  She continues to live at the Brookfield Zoo.

The boy in that fall suffered a broken hand and cuts to his face.  He spent four days in the hospital and recovered fully.

In the incident at the Cincinnati Zoo on Saturday, a boy fell some 15 feet into the Western Lowland enclosure, where he caught the attention of a 400-pound, 17-year-old gorilla named Harambe. As the boy played in the water of a shallow pool, the huge gorilla could be seen picking up the 3-year-old boy and dragging him to safety inside the enclosure, according to a police report. Out of concern for the child’s safety, however, zoo officials made the difficult decision to fatally shoot Harambe to save the boy.

The zoo has since defended killing the western lowland silverback amid angry backlash from people who watched the video online. An investigation into the actions of the boy’s family is underway, police confirmed. The boy suffered only minor scrapes on his head and knee.

About Alexis Sostre

Entrepreneur, contributor, writer, and editor of Sostre News. With a powerful new bi-lingual speaking generation by his side, Sostre News is becoming the preferred site for the latest in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Culture, Tech, Breaking and World News.

Check Also

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner dead at 91

Playboy Founder Hugh Hefner Dead at 91

Hugh Hefner -- the silk-robed Casanova whose Playboy men's magazine popularized the term "centerfold," glamorized an urbane bachelor lifestyle and helped spur the sexual revolution of the 1960s -- has died, the magazine said late Wednesday. He was 91.