Jambo was a gorilla housed at the Jersey Zoo between 1972 and 1992. While gorillas can often be unpredictable and sometimes violent, Jambo became famous for an act of protection. On August 31, 1986, five-year-old Levan Merritt fell into the gorilla enclosure at the Jersey Zoo. The fall caused him to lose consciousness amongst the giant gorillas. Jambo stood guard over the boy, placing himself between Merritt and other gorillas in the enclosure. Ethologists analyzed the gesture as a protective one.
Jambo proceeded to stroke the back of the unconscious boy. When Merritt regained consciousness, he began to cry. The gorillas, including Jambo retreated in panic. Jambo lead them into their house. However, when the gate was closing, a young gorilla named Hobbit got out. Thankfully, an ambulanceman and two zookeepers were able to rescue Merritt in time. The action was caught on videotape and camera by zoo visitors and received a lot of attention on local news. Another similar incident happened at the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois.