Meet a penguin who swims 8 000km every year to visit the pensioner who healed him
09 March 2016, 18:43
Rio de Janeiro - “I believe the penguin loves me.” These are the words of a 71-year-old pensioner about a penguin he helped nurse after an oil spill in 2011, and that has visited him every year since from across the oceans.
Pensioner Joao Pereira de Souza, 71, is a retired bricklayer and part-time fishermen from a small island village just outside Rio de Janeiro in Brazil.
In 2011, he discovered a tiny penguin helpless upon on rocks, starving and covered in oil, the Daily Mail reported.
De Souza took him in and nursed him back to health, naming the penguin Dindim.
He cleaned the bird, and after a week, released him back in to the ocean.
But just after a few months, the penguin returned to the island, and visibly recognised de Souza, to everyone’s astonishment, including Joao.
“I love the penguin like it's my own child and I believe the penguin loves me,” de Souza told Globo TV.
“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.”
'He's more affectionate every year'
De Souza said Dindim spends eight months of the year with him and spends the rest of his 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’s heard saying in the video.
“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.”
A biologist Joao Paulo Krajewski told The Independent he has never seen anything like it 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.”