sulabh swatchh bharat

Thursday, 22-November-2018


This is an unbelievable story of a penguin which comes back every year to bond with his once saviour

Someone is reliving the past, hoary past, when humans and animals used to live together. That was the time when humans shared the forests with other animals and knew their ways and in many ways, had a bondage with them. Of course, these were no carnivores or otherwise dangerous. Now there are sky-scrapers everywhere. And the animals, barring pets, have vanished. But as we shall see, someone is reliving that hoary past.

This heartwarming story is from a beach in Brazil. It is the story about a sweet bond between a South American Magellanic penguin and a Brazilian fisherman. For the past five years, this penguin swims 5,000 miles every year to spend a few months with this fisherman, who had saved his life.

Saviour Joao

Retired bricklayer and part-time fisherman Joao Pereira de Souza is now 71. He lives in an island village just outside Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 2011, he found the tiny penguin covered in oil and close to death, lying on the rocks on his local beach. At that time, it looked almost impossible to save this little one. But Joao did not give up. He cleaned the oil off the penguin’s feathers and gave him warmth, so that he would feel safe and secure. The penguin had become very weak, so Joao fed him a daily diet of fish to make him strong. Joao named him Dindim. Gradually, within one week’s time, Dindim recovered from illness.

Once he was fit and fine, Joao tried to send him to his own home. He tried to release the penguin back into the sea. But, the cute little thing wouldn’t leave. Rio recalls and says: “He stayed with me for 11 months and then, just after he changed his coat with new feathers, he disappeared.” Joao was sad, naturally, and missed his friend, but he was happy for Dindim that he had gone back home. 

Darling Returns

But just a few months later, Joao had a huge and pleasant surprise, Dindim was back. He spotted the fisherman himself on the beach and followed him home. American film actor Marty Mack, known for his film Ex on the Beach says: “We don’t give animals the credit they deserve for their intelligence and capacity for great emotion. They deserve so much better than they get from us humans.”

For the past five years, Dindim has spent eight months of the year with Joao and it is believed that he just goes back at the time of breeding. He spends
those months in the coast of Argentina and Chile.

The fisherman believes that the affection is two-way. He says: “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 anyone tries to do so. He lies on my lap, I give him showers, and I feed him sardines with my own hands and pick him up with love. ”

People say ‘out of sight, out of mind’. But Dindim’s emotional attachment defies such a generalisation. “Every year when Dindim goes back, everyone says he will not return. But he has been coming back to visit me for the past five 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,” says Joao.

Their love has amazed many in the world. Nanny Brenda from Dorset of United Kingdom says, “There were tears in my eyes reading this. How absolutely wonderful the trust the little penguin has in the fisherman.”


Biologist Professor Carey Krajewski at the Southern Illinois University, who interviewed the fisherman, said: “I have never seen anything like this before. I think the penguin believes Joao is part of his family, and probably thinks he is a penguin as well.” Loveitall*** from United Kingdom says, “He probably thinks the man’s a penguin.” It’s funny how people put their own thoughts on animals. The penguin leaves to mate with his own kind every year. We are pretty sure Dandim knows Joao is not a penguin. Again, the biologist says, “When he sees Joao, Dandim wags his tail like a dog and calls out in delight.”

Huge Following

This story has received enormous adulation across the world. People are astonished to see the love between man and penguin.

Jojo from San Francisco, United States, says: “So many people think animals are stupid and that gives them the right to slaughter animals. I say the animals are smarter than people.”

Joao says: “I’m flattered Dindim is happy to exchange his home with thousands of other penguins every year to find his way here to spend time with me. It’s a very special relationship.”

Penguins are usually monogamous and spend their lifetime with the same partner, though there can be exceptions, just like in humans. But Dindim’s fidelity in his relationship with Joao does not hurt his partner. She too knows he will come back at the right time! Penguins normally live for 25 years. The question is, what will he feel one day when he returns and finds the 71-year-old gone? Our hearts already ache!