On the beach near the village Provetá in Ilha Grande, Brazil, a man found a South American Magellanic penguin starving and covered in oil. Following a natural impulse to help, he picked up the penguin, cleaned him up, and took him home.
Over the next week, João Pereira De Souza fed the penguin sardines and took care of him to the best of his ability. When he thought the penguin was strong enough, he went to return him to the sea. However, the penguin refused to leave João’s side.
“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. “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.”
João Pereira named the penguin “Dindim,” and they have a bond like no other. “I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me.”
Biologist Joao Paulo Krajewski, who interviewed Pereira de Souza for Globo TV, told The Independent: “Professionals who work with animals try to avoid relationships like this occurring, so they are able to reintroduce the animal into the wild. But in this isolated case the authorities allowed Dindim to stay with Joao because of his kindness.”
Krajewski added: “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.”
However, sometimes the bond between rescuer and animal is unstoppably strong. “I’m flattered Dindim is happy to exchange his home with thousands of other penguins every year to find his way here to spend one-to-one time with me. It’s a very special relationship,” João said.
Indeed, their touching, special relationship is a bit strange, yet it’s so very heart-warming to see!