One penguin swims 7,500 miles each year to be reunited with his friend, the man who had saved his life 5 years ago.
Fisherman Joao Pereira de Souza, who lives on an island not far from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, found in 2011, a penguins covered with oil’ dying on a beach.
He cleaned penguin’s feathers daily and fed him fish. He called his new friend Dindim.
After a week, he released him back into the sea, but the penguin did not want to leave.
‘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,’ Joao recalls.
However, Dindim returned after a few months. He spotted the fisherman on the beach and followed him home.
For the past five years Dindim has spent 8 months with Joao, while the rest of the time he probably spends the rest of his time breeding off the coast of Argentina and Chile.
It is believed that Dindim each year swims around 7,500 kilometers just to be with the man who saved his life.
I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me,’ said Joao. 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.’
They all said he would not return, but he returns every year. He comes in June and goes away in February, and each time he is happier when he sees me again, said Joao.
Biologist Joao Paulo Krajewski, who interviewed the fisherman, said that he had never seen anything like it! I think the penguin believes Joao is part of his family and probably a penguin as well. When you see him, he wags his tail like a dog, and makes sounds of delight.
Just when you think your day can’t get any worse, one penguin can make it better!
Otherwise, Dindim is about six-years-old, and has recently been ‘marked’ so that scientists can follow it’s development and movement. Animals can get attached to people, and this is not that unusual, but, researchers and animal rights activist avoid such attachments.
This makes their return to the wild more difficult. But in this case, it has helped Dindim to survive and it was the best thing that this humble and wonderful man could do for a penguin!