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On August 16th, 1996 at Brookfield Zoo, in Brookfield, Illinois, a mother turned her head for a moment and her 3-year-old son slipped away, climbed through a barrier, and tumbled down nearly 20 feet into the Lowland Gorilla pit.

The boy suffered a broken hand and cuts to his face. As he laid on the ground, an unexpected hero quickly came to his rescue. Binti Jua, an 8-year-old female western lowland gorilla who had her own daughter, 17-month-old Koola, on her back, stepped in to take care of the boy protecting him from 6 other territorial gorillas in the area.

There’s video showing Binti first picking up the boy and cradling him for several minutes, then taking him by his waist, and carrying him to a door where she calmly passed him off to rescuers who were waiting to take the young boy to the hospital where he stayed 4 days and made a full recovery.

Following this incident, Binti Jua became an international hero. Binti Jua is still at Brookfield zoo and now is 36 and her daughter Koola is 23 with many of her own children.