Every Year, This Penguin Swims 5,000 Miles To Reunite With The Man Who Saved His Life

How awesome is this … it should be made into a Disney film ..

In 2011, a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was wandering the coasts of his homeland when he happened across a tiny penguin covered in oil.

The penguin, reports The Independent, was lying on the rocks and was close to death.

66-year-old Joao Pereira de Souza knew he needed to do something to help, therefore, picked the penguin up and took it home. He washed it off, then spent the next seven days feeding it a daily diet of fish to help it regain its strength.

Souza named the South American Magellanic penguin Dindim.

Credit: Rio de Janeiro Federal University

After a week, the kind-hearted man tried to release the penguin back to the sea. However, the bird wouldn’t leave.

Joao told Globo TV:

“He stayed with me for 11 months and then, just after he changed his coat with new feathers, he disappeared.”

Dindim wasn’t gone for long, however. Just a few months later, he was back for a visit. When the fisherman was spotted on the beach, the penguin hobbled out of the ocean and followed his adopted caretaker back home.

Credit: Rio de Janeiro Federal University

Credit: Rio de Janeiro Federal University

For the past five years, Dindim has spent eight months of the year with Joao and is believed to spend the rest of his time breeding off the coast of Argentine and Chile.

The distance amounts to an incredible 5,000 miles traveled every year.

Now 71-years of age, Joao relays:

“I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me. 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.”

Credit: Rio de Janeiro Federal University

“Everyone said he wouldn’t return but he has been coming back to visit me for the past four years. He arrives in June and leaves to go home in February and every year he becomes more affectionate as he appears even happier to see me.”

Biologist Professor Krajewski has his own thoughts on the unique relationship:

“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.”


A bond formed by love is, undoubtedly, the strongest to exist.

Thanks to trueactivist for this article.

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