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‘Grateful Penguin’ Drops In To Visit His Rescuer Every Year


Often the relationship between animals and humans is strained because of environmental pollution, overfishing, and violence. An elderly Brazilian man has proven that humans and animals can form meaningful bonds despite their differences. When a penguin was close to death after having a run-in with an oil spill, a Brazilian fisherman nursed the bird back to health. Following the act of kindness, the penguin has repeatedly journeyed thousands of miles every year to spend time with their hero.

Finding Dindim

In 2011, retired bricklayer Joao Pereira de Souza found a South American Magellanic penguin barely breathing and coated in sticky oil. He did everything in his power to save the cute little creature’s life. Joao cleaned off the bird, named it Dindim, and fed it fish every day until it was strong enough to return to the wild.

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When Joao took Dindim on a boat to release him to the sea, the bird was waiting for Joao back at home by the time he returned.

Matters Of The Heart

Joao has told others, “I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me.” After Dindim stayed with Joao for 11 months following his rescue, the penguin didn’t leave until it had a new coat of feathers.

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When neighbors thought the bird would never be seen again after it disappeared one day, Dindim has surprised Joao with an annual visit since 2011. Dindim swims over 5,000 miles to see his dear friend and only lets Joao pick him up, fed him, and nuzzle his beak. Anyone else who dares to touch Dindim gets a warning peck.

Extended Family

Experts speculated that Dindim thinks “Joao is a part of his family and probably a penguin as well,” according to Professor Krajewski, a biologist. When Dindim sees his friend Joao, “…he wags his tail like a dog and honks with delight.”

WREG.com / Instagram

When Joao found Dindim near his home of Ilha Grande off the coast of Rio de Janeiro, he never would have imagined having such a profound relationship with a penguin. Every year when Dindim comes to visit Joao in June and stays until February, he seems even happier when reunited with his rescuer.

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