When one saves an animal’s life one does not expect gratitude or acknowledgement, it is a rewarding experience in itself. But a fisherman who saved a penguin from a certain death, made a friend for life. Joao Pereira de Souza, 71, a retired bricklayer and part-time fisherman found a South American Magellanic penguin covered in oil on an island off the Rio de Janeiro, (Brazil) coast.
He slowly nursed the penguin he named Dindim — back to health, taking almost a week careful removing the sticky oil from its feathers. After the penguin recovered, he released it back to the wild never expecting to see it again. To his shock and surprise the penguin returned, a few months later and has been visiting him for the past 5 years, since 2011.
“I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me,” Joao 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.”
It is believed the penguin swims around 8000km to visit de Souza for 8 months before returning to breed of the coast of Argentina and Chile.
Biologist Joao Paulo Krajewski, who interviewed Mr Pereira de Souza for Globo TV, 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.”