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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Female Gorilla Rescues 3-Year Old Boy

BROOKFIELD, Illinois -- A 3-year-old boy who was rescued by a female gorilla when he fell 5.5 meters into a zoo primate exhibit was in serious condition as he recovered from head injuries.


The boy initially was considered to be in critical condition, but "his condition has improved, which is good news,'' said Mike Maggio, a spokesman for Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood.


The boy's parents have asked that he not be identified.


The primate exhibit was re-opened Saturday, with no additional bars or guard rails, said Teri Gruca, the human resources administrator for the Brookfield Zoo.


"There's no reason to make any changes to the structure, to the best of our knowledge,'' Gruca said.


The child climbed over a planter box on top of a 1 meter railing and fell 5.5 meters onto the concrete floor of the primate exhibit, which houses seven gorillas.


Binti Jua, an 8-year-old female gorilla who was carrying her own infant on her back, cradled the boy in her arms and took him near a door to the exhibit where zoo keepers and paramedics could attend to the boy. Zoo keepers sprayed water on the other gorillas to keep them away.


Binti, whose name is Swahili for "Daughter of Sunshine,'' is a Western Lowland gorilla.


Because she was raised by humans, she had to be taught nurturing skills when she gave birth 17 months ago, the zoo said.


She was trained using ape-like stuffed animals to sharpen her maternal instincts.


"We're trying to get the animals back into their normal routine,'' Gruca said. "What happened yesterday was a little unusual.''