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Tot Saved By Gorilla Recovering

Tue., Aug. 20, 1996

The 3-year-old boy who fell into a primate exhibit and was carried to safety by a motherly gorilla is recovering, and doctors said Monday that they don’t believe he will suffer any long-term effects.

The boy, who was upgraded to fair condition, had minor head injuries, broken bones in one hand and a number of scrapes and cuts, some that needed stitches, Dr. Wendy Marshall of Loyola Medical Center said Monday.

He also is alert despite being unconscious for 14 hours, Marshall said.

“He’s acting quite normal,” Marshall said. “He does not remember anything about the events on Friday and we haven’t asked him anything about that.”

Brookfield Zoo’s Binti Jua picked up the boy Friday after he fell 18 feet onto concrete. She cradled him in her arms and carried him to a zoo keepers’ gate where help could safely get to him.

The gorilla and the zoo have been getting plenty of attention since amateur video of Binti Jua’s action was shown on television over the weekend.

“The phones are continually ringing and it still seems to be expanding,” said Jay Petersen, primate collections manager for zoo just west of Chicago.

“This morning I’ve talked to Belfast, Ireland. I made a call back to people in Argentina that we couldn’t get through to,” said keeper Craig Demitros. “We’ve been literally all over the world with this.”

The boy’s parents don’t want the boy’s name released, hospital officials said.

Binti Jua - an 8-year-old, 150-pound Western Lowland gorilla - was raised by humans at the Columbus Zoo after she was rejected by her mother, Petersen said. She was taught mothering skills by humans using stuffed animals.

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