A gorilla at an Illinois zoo captured national attention when it appeared to save the life of a 3-year-old boy 20 years ago (video below).
The child had fallen nearly 20 feet inside of the gorilla's Brookfield Zoo enclosure when he was rescued by gorilla Binti Jua in August 1996, WGN reports.
Having quietly sneaked away from his mother, the boy had climbed through a barrier at the Western Lowland Gorilla Pit.
In front of dozens, the boy then fell to what could have been his death if Binti Jua had not helped the child. The gorilla took the boy to a door in the enclosure and gave him to rescuers.
While he broke his hand when he fell, the boy lived and the gorilla became a local hero.
The incident was captured on video and many zoo workers admitted it was an image they may never forget.
Binti Jua’s heroic act contrasts starkly with the gorilla, Harambe, who horrified the world after he manhandled a 3-year-old boy on May 28, CNN reports.
At first, witnesses said it didn’t appear the gorilla meant to harm the child.
"He dragged the child a little further down into the moat and he ... almost looked like he was helping him, pulled his pants up, stood him up, and then all of the sudden everybody started screaming again, and he pulled him completely out," Kimberley Ann Perkins O'Connor said.
"He was just flipping out -- just scared," she added. "The scream from that gorilla, that I have never heard. I don't think that he was hurting him. He was just protecting him."
But suddenly he turned violent, witnesses said.
"From what we saw [the child] could have been killed at any second," Bruce Davis said. "He threw him 10 feet in the air, and I saw him land on his back. It was a mess."
What’s more, the gorilla seemed determined not to let go of the child, instead trying to drag him into his cave.
"He literally picked the boy up by his calf and dragged him toward another cave to basically get him out of the view of this crowd that hadn't yet dispersed,” O'Connor said.
Officials shot and killed the gorilla to save the child.