Joao Pereira de Souza, 71, found a South American Magellanic penguin covered in oil and starving on a beach on an island off the coast of Rio de Janeiro four years ago. He saved him and a never ending friendship was born then.
Ever since they met back in 2011, the creature, which normally breeds on the Patagonia coasts of Argentina and Chile, three to five thousand miles away, has become a faithful companion, swimming every year from its habitat to spend up to eight months living with the retired fisherman in his house on the island.
When De Souza nursed him back to health, he found that Dindim, the penguin, didn’t want to leave. But when he did finally leave, De Souza was pleasantly surprised to see him return the next year, and the years following.
I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me,” Joao told Globo TV. “No one else is allowed to touch him. He pecks them if they do. He lays on my lap, lets me give him showers, allows me to feed him sardines and to pick him up.
Everyone said he wouldn’t return but he has been coming back to visit me for the past four years.
71-year-old Joao found this penguin covered in oil and close to death in 2011
He stayed with me for 11 months and then…he disappeared. But Dindim kept coming back every year, swimming 8,000km to do so
I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me. When he sees him he wags his tail like a dog and honks with delight. No one else is allowed to touch him. He pecks them if they do
I have never seen anything like this before. I think the penguin believes Joao is part of his family and probably a penguin as well – said Biologist Professor Krajewski
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