Zoo Gorilla Rescues Toddler Injured in Fall

From Associated Press

A toddler fell into a gorilla exhibit at the Brookfield Zoo on Friday afternoon and was rescued by a female gorilla who cradled the child and brought him to zookeepers.

The 3-year-old boy injured his head after falling 18 feet onto concrete in an area with seven gorillas. He was still alert when taken to a hospital, but was in critical condition at Loyola University Medical Center late Friday night.

Hospital spokesman Michael Maggio said he did not know what injuries the child sustained and that his parents were not available to comment.


Binti, a 7-year-old female with a baby gorilla on her back, picked up the child, cradled him in her arms, and placed him near a door where zookeepers could retrieve him, said zoo spokeswoman Sondra Katzen.

“Another gorilla walked toward the boy and she kind of turned around and walked away from the other gorillas and tried to be protective,” said zoo-goer Carrie Stewart.

Zookeepers also sprayed water on the exhibit to keep the other gorillas away from the boy as Binti, who was raised by humans, took control of the situation, said another zoo spokeswoman, Melinda Pruett-Jones.

“They controlled the animals beautifully and had an emergency medical crew working on the little boy as soon as they possibly could,” she said.

Gorillas do not seek out confrontation but will defend their families if approached, said Kelly McGrath, spokeswoman for the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago.

Katzen said she did not know how the child got over a 3- or 4-foot railing. She said she believes that the boy had run ahead of his mother.


She added that it was the first time anyone had fallen into the gorilla pit in its 14 years at the zoo, located about 10 miles west of downtown Chicago.