By Josie August 8th, 2023
A mother gorilla saved a 3-year-old child that fell into her enclosure on August 16, 1996.
The mother gorilla involved is called Binti-Jua, and she recently celebrated her 35th birthday earlier this year.
Binti Jua, a western lowland gorilla, was born on March 17, 1988, at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois.
Humans played a huge part in raising Binti Jua because her mother was indifferent to her.
In 1996, a three-year-old boy fell nearly 20 feet into the Zoo’s gorilla enclosure, and Binti-Jua approached the unconscious boy amidst the panic of onlookers.
She carefully picked up the child, cradled him in her arms, and carried him to a door where rescuers awaited.
The unconscious child in the enclosure
Media outlets around the world covered the story, showcasing the gentle nature of this female gorilla and challenging preconceived notions about wild animals.
She received special treats and attention from zoo personnel, and a local grocer gifted her 25 pounds of bananas.
Binti Jua’s remarkable act of compassion became a subject of much discussion, here's three theories:
At the time of the incident, she had her own baby and this maternal bond might have extended her nurturing instincts to the human child.
Being unconscious, the boy was a non-threatening presence in her enclosure, and she might have recognized the vulnerability of the unconscious boy,
This early exposure to humans could have fostered a sense of understanding and empathy toward them