Four years ago, 71-year-old retired bricklayer and part time fisherman Joao Pereira de Souza, found a South American Magellanic penguin covered in oil and close to death on a beach on an island off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.
Joao cleaned the oil off the penguin’s feathers and fed him a daily diet of fish to build his strength. He named him Dindim.
After a week of nursing him back to health, he tried to release the penguin back into the sea but found that Dindim didn’t want to leave.
He ended up staying with Joao for 11 months and then one day, just after he changed his coat with new feathers, he disappeared.
Just a few short months later, Dindim was back. He spotted Joao on the beach one day and followed him home.
For the past five years, Dindim has spent eight months of the year with Joao and is believed to spend the rest of the time breeding off the coast of Argentina and Chile.
“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.”
“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.”
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