Penguin Swims 5,000 Miles Each Year to Visit Man Who Saved Him

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Dindim is the name a Brazilian man gave the penguin he found lying on rocks and near death five years ago. Joao Pereira de Souza was on a local beach in his village outside Rio de Janeiro when he came across the bird, covered in oil and near death.

Joao, a 71-year-old retired bricklayer and part-time fisherman, nursed Dindim back to health in 2011, according to Metro, and tried several times to release the penguin — but Dindim had become attached to his soulmate.

After 11 months and a change of feathers, Dindim finally took off — for a little while. Joao says just a few months later, Dindim was back and followed him home as soon as he found him, staying for a nice long visit.

And each year since, the South American Magellanic penguin has made the 5,000-mile journey from Argentina back to where Joao lives. It’s believed Dindim leaves Joao for a few months of breeding time off the coast of Argentina and Chile.

Biologist Joao Paulo Krajewski told The Independent that Dindim probably thinks Joao is a penguin as well and that the two are family. “I have never seen anything like this before,” Krajewski said. “When he sees him he wags his tail like a dog and honks with delight.”