Loyal penguin swims 5,000 miles every year to reunite with the man who saved his life

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loyal penguin visits man who rescued him
Loyal penguin travels 5,000 miles every year to visit the man who saved his life – Source: TV Globo

A loyal penguin returns to an island off Rio de Janeiro every year to reunite with the man who saved him from the brink of death. “I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me,” the rescuer said.

Retired bricklayer and part-time fisherman João Pereira de Souza discovered the penguin back in 2011, when he washed up on the beach in Ilha Grande – an island village just outside Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.

The creature was in a terrible state, all covered in oil and starving.

Pereira de Souza, who named the South American Magellanic penguin Dindim, decided to take the poor thing home and nurse him back to health.

It took the man more than a week just to clean the sticky oil residue from the penguin’s feathers. He fed Dindim a daily diet of fish to build up his strength.

When Dindim started feeling better, Pereira de Souza tried to release him back into the wild.

loyal penguin reunites with man who rescued him
Source: TV Globo

But Dindim wouldn’t leave. The tiny penguin had a mind of his own and wasn’t quite ready to say goodbye to his savior yet.

“He wouldn’t leave, he stayed with me for 11 months and then, just after he changed his coat with new feathers, he disappeared,” de Souza recalled.

dindim the loyal penguin
Source: TV Globo

When Dindim left on his own, Pereira de Souza didn’t expect to see him again.

Astonishingly, Dindim returned to the island just a few months later and went straight to Mr. de Souza’s backyard, looking for his rescuer.

The loyal penguin has been following the same routine every year, ever since.

loyal penguin dindim
Source: TV Globo

“Everyone said he wouldn’t return but he has been coming back to visit me every year,” de Souza said.

“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.”

loyal penguin reunites with man
Source: TV Globo

Now, the loyal penguin spends four months of the year breeding off the coast of Argentina and Chile, then swims 5,000 miles to return to Mr. de Souza’s backyard.

Scientists were skeptical of the idea that the same penguin would come back to visit Pereiro de Souza every year, so they tagged Dindim to find out more about his trajectory.


“We have definite proof that it is the same penguin returning to Mr. João’s house, since he came back with the tag,” biologist João Paulo Krajewski said.

“I have never seen anything like this before. I think the penguin believes João 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,” the biologist added.

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