"I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me. He lays on my lap, lets me give him showers, allows me to feed him sardines and to pick him up," said Joao Pereira de Souza.
In a heartwarming story, meet Dindim the Penguin. A few years ago, Joao Pereira de Souza, 71, found a South American Magellanic penguin completely covered in oil and starving on the beach off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. But he didn't know it was the start of a beautiful friendship.
Since they met in 2011, the penguin, which normally breeds on the Patagonia coasts of Argentina and Chile, has a friend almost 5000 thousand miles away.
This is the story of Dindim.— UberFacts (@UberFacts) April 25, 2019
The penguin that visits the man who rescued him every year 🐧 pic.twitter.com/3r9A5LkdwG
Dindim travels every year from its habitat to spend up to eight months living with the retired fisherman in his house on the island. In a conversation with Globo Tv, De Souza said, "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."
In 2011, a man named Joao Pereira de Souza spotted a penguin drenched in oil on a beach near his house in Brazil. He named the penguin Dindim and fed him each day until he was strong enough to leave.— UberFacts (@UberFacts) April 20, 2019
Dindim has been swimming back to visit him every June for the last seven years.
De Souza believes that Dindim formed a bond with him after he was rescued from the beach and was taken home. It took him a week, but he managed to clean his tarred feathers in the shower, feed him fish daily to improve his strength, and then finally took him back to leave him to the sea.
De Souza recalled, "But he wouldn’t leave, he stayed with me for 11 months and then just after he changed his coat with new feathers he disappeared. 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.”
Joao Pereira de Souza, found dying penguin on beach, nursed him better, Dindim returns to Joao every year. pic.twitter.com/BLI6b1lhfk— John Evans (@Distinctboxes) October 27, 2018
Biologist Joao Paulo 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.”
Penguins are known to have a lifespan of 25 years and they are also known for their loyalty to their partners until they die. But, environmentalists have warned that, while hundreds of the Magellanic species are known to naturally migrate thousands of miles north in search of food, one main reason for worry is the number of oceanic animals washing up on Brazil’s beaches.
From 2011 to 2013, the Humpback Whale Institute in Bahia noted that more than 180 mammals were found stranded through the Brazil beach. Professor David Zee, an oceanographer from Rio de Janeiro’s State University said, "Every year the strong ocean currents from the Falkland region traps and brings many species of seals, whales, dolphins, turtles and penguins to the Brazilian coast. This is becoming more problematic due to environmental changes and the increasing frequency of el Niño, in which the Pacific Ocean is warming up for prolonged periods of time."
Best story of the day. Dindim the penguin travels 8000km from Patagonia to Brazil to see the man who saved his life pic.twitter.com/WEfTU4BvSi— Alpa Patel (@alpapatel) March 19, 2016
He added, "The marine creatures get confused and lost as they are dragged away on the surf from their normal habitat and end up in areas where they are unable to survive.”
Professor Zee also added that the dangers are increasing because of the ongoing contamination of the oceans with oil and other derivatives. Pereira de Souza concluded saying, "I’m flattered Dindim is happy to exchange his home with thousands of other penguins every year to find his way here to spend one-to-one time with me. It’s a very special relationship.”