You probably know that dogs, cats, and even cows can share emotional bonds like humans, but did you know penguins are capable of the same thing?
In a heartwarming story, meet Dindim the Penguin. A few years ago, Joao Pereira de Souza, 71, found a South American Magellanic penguin completely covered in oil and starving on the beach off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. But he didn’t know it was the start of a beautiful friendship.
Since they met in 2011, the penguin, which normally breeds on the Patagonia coasts of Argentina and Chile, has a friend almost 5000 thousand miles away.
Dindim travels every year from its habitat to spend up to eight months living with the retired fisherman in his house on the island. In a conversation with Globo Tv, De Souza said, “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.”
De Souza believes that Dindim formed a bond with him after he was rescued from the beach and was taken home. It took him a week, but he managed to clean his tarred feathers in the shower, feed him fish daily to improve his strength, and then finally took him back to leave him to the sea.
De Souza recalled, “But he wouldn’t leave, he stayed with me for 11 months and then just after he changed his coat with new feathers he disappeared. 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.”
Biologist Joao Paulo told The Independent, “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.”
Penguins are known to have a lifespan of 25 years and they are also known for their loyalty to their partners until they die. But, environmentalists have warned that, while hundreds of the Magellanic species are known to naturally migrate thousands of miles north in search of food, one main reason for worry is the number of oceanic animals washing up on Brazil’s beaches.