It is a story of true friendship and pure devotion. A South American Magellanic penguin overcomes more than 8000 km by sea every year to meet the man who saved his life. It all started in 2011. The then bricklayer Joao Pereira de Souza found the poor thing lying on rocks on the beach of his village situated on an island just outside Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). The bird was covered in oil and was close to death. The kind-hearted man nursed the penguin and gave him the name – Dindim.
The first help Joao Pereira de Souza could render the tiny penguin was to clean his feathers from oil which was deadly dangerous for the creature. Then he fed him with fish and continued to nurture the new little friend till he gained strength. In a week the man though the penguin had recovered completely. De Souza released the bird but Dindim refused to leave his life-saviour and lived with the man for 11 months.
He stayed with me for 11 months and then, just after he changed his coat with new feathers, he disappeared,’ the penguin’s saviour said.
The story could have this happy ending if not an event happened a few months later. On the same beach the man spotted his old friend Dindim who followed the man till his home. Now Joao Pereira de Souza is 71 years old. He is retired and works part time as fisherman. During these five years the penguin has left him and returned every year. The man says Dindim usually returns in June and stays with him for eight months till February.
Everyone said he wouldn’t return but he has been coming back to visit me. 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, the man says.
The story of penguin Dindim and his saviour Joao Pereira de Souza is brought to light by biologist Professor Krajewski. The scientist says that the penguin now probably treats de Souza as part of his family and even thinks that the man is a penguin, too. He admits that he has never faced such a case and it is the only explanation he can find to justify the penguin’s behaviour. The specialist also supposes that every years the penguin swims over 8000 kiometres to visit the man.