Heartwarming Story of a Penguin Who Swims 5,000 Miles Every Year to See the Man Who Rescued Him

With all the negativity that surrounds us daily and all the evil that is happening in the world today, we sometimes need a reminder that there are still things like kindness, loyalty and gratitude. This heartwarming story will do exactly that.

Wall Street Journal recently featured a story about a penguin who swims 4,970 miles each year to see the man who saved his life 5 years ago.

In 2011, 71-year-old retired bricklayer Joao Pereira de Souza found a dying South American Magellanic penguin on a beach near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The penguin was starving and covered in oil, so the man decided to take care of the poor animal and nursed him back to life. Pereira de Souza cleaned the penguin’s feathers, fed him with fresh fish and even gave him a name – Dindim.

A week later, when Dindim’s life was no longer under threat, the man wanted to release him back to the ocean so that the penguin could return to his natural habitat. However, he wouldn’t leave.

“He stayed with me for 11 months and then just after he changed his coat with new feathers he disappeared,” Pereira de Souza told Globo TV.

No one could imagine that the penguin would ever come back. To everyone’s surprise, Dindim returned the next year and since then, he has been coming every year to stay for around eight months with his rescuer.

“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,” said Pereira de Souza.

penguin who swims 5000 miles dindim

For the rest of the time, the penguin is believed to live and breed off the coast of Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands. Thus, this little guy swims around 5,000 miles a year 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,” Pereira de Souza said. “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.”

penguin who swims 5000 miles pereira de souza and dindim

This story is indeed remarkable as such a demonstration of affection and gratitude is not typical for the animals that live in the wild environment and have little or no contact with humans.

As biologist Joao Paulo Krajewski 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.”

It seems that nature will never cease to amaze us and sometimes, animals can be more prone to emotions that not all humans can feel. Just like the article about the reunion of a woman with the gorillas she grew up with, this touching story of the friendship between a man and a penguin reminds us that good things still happen in the world.

Image credit: Wall Street Journal

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