A Loyal Penguin Swims 5,000 Miles Every Year To Visit The Man Who Rescued Him

They say elephants never forget, but it looks like penguins have got pretty good memories too. Well this penguin has anyway after a Brazilian man rescued it from near death. 71-year-old fisherman Joao Pereira de Souz found the South American Magellanic penguin, who he's called Dindim, lying on a local beach just outside Rio de Janeiro in Brazil covered in oil and very nearly dead.

So de Souz nursed the little guy back to health, cleaning the oil from his feathers and feeding him fish until he built up his strength. Once Dindim was back to good health after about a week de Souz attempted to release him back into the sea, but Dindim was having none of it. He didn't want to leave.

"He stayed with me for 11 months and then, just after he changed his coat with new feathers, he disappeared," de Souz explains.

But a few months later Dindim reappeared, following de Souz home after seeing him on the beach. This was back in 2011 and since then every year Dindim has spent eight months a year with de Souz, and the other four months breeding off the coasts of Argentina and Chile, in the process racking up around 5,000 miles in his epic journey to be reunited with his fisherman buddy and savior.

“I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me,” de Souza said. "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.”

Joao Paulo Krajewski, a biologist who interviewed de Souza for Globo TV, told The Independent: “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. When he sees him he wags his tail like a dog and honks with delight.”

Consider your heart warmed.


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