A three-year-old boy was cradled and carried to safety by a mum gorilla after falling into a zoo enclosure – in a miracle that completely baffled animal experts.

Back in 1996 the boy slipped away from his mum and ended up taking a fall into the gorilla enclosure at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, US.

The child, who has never been identified, broke his hand and got a nasty cut to his face from the 20-foot drop.

READ MORE: World's loneliest gorilla doomed to die in captivity in tiny cage in shopping centre

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And with seven territorial gorillas roaming the enclosure, what one would expect to happen next doesn't bare thinking about.

But, in a strange turn of events, one mother gorilla Binti Jua – meaning daughter of sunshine – did something completely unexpected.

Despite having her own baby gorilla on her back, she went to the boy, scooped him up and held him close to protect him from the other animals – before going to the edge of the enclosure where zookeepers came to the rescue.

She handed the boy over calmly before heading back to her family, reports ABC.

Binti, who still lives in the zoo, became a worldwide sensation and must have got lots of extra treats for her kindness in the following weeks.

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Animal experts were blown away by Binti's behaviour and figured her motherly instincts kicked in, especially with her own baby gorilla on her back at the time.

While Binti was hailed a hero, western lowland gorilla Harambe was shot by a zookeeper in May 2016 when a three-year-old boy visiting Cincinnati Zoo climbed under a fence into the enclosure and was grabbed and dragged by the 17-year-old gorilla.

Zoo officials called the decision a "tough choice" but said the boy's life was in danger because Harambe was an "extremely strong" animal in an agitated situation.

Video showed the gorilla dragging the boy by the ankle while onlookers screamed, but also appeared to show Harambe standing guard over the child and the two even shared a brief moment holding hands.

Meanwhile, the Daily Star reported the world's loneliest gorilla is doomed to die in captivity in a tiny cage in a shopping centre after activists' continued attempts to free her failed.

Pop icon Cher joined an ever increasing swell of animal rights activists and celebrities campaigning to have Bua Noi resettled in an environment where she can spend the last years of her life in dignity.

There are also more than more than 117,000 signatures on a Change.org petition to release Thailand's only surviving gorilla from 30-years in confinement.

Read the full story here.

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