Joao and Dindim

Joao and Dindim: A Heartwarming Bond Between an Elderly Gentleman and His Beloved Penguin

The amazing story of Joao and Dindim, a South American magellanic penguin who returns every year to the 71-year-old man in Brazil who saved his life.

In 2011, a 71-year-old retired bricklayer – Joao Pereira de Souza, from an island off Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, found a South American Magellanic penguin covered in oil and struggling on the beach. 

The kind gentleman rescued the flightless bird and cleaned its oil-drenched feathers for a week, looked after him, and nursed him back to health.

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He affectionately named the bird Dindim and once he had recuperated, he set him free in the wild, as reported by the Daily Mail

Joao and Dindim
Stock picture of a South American Magellanic penguin

A few months later, to Joao’s complete surprise, the bird returned to the island. Not only this, but Dindim remembered his life-savior and went back home with him.

Joao loves Dindim as his own child and feeds him with sardines. The bird loves to lay on Joao’s lap, allows him to give him showers, and lets him pick him up as well. 

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Only Joao is allowed to touch the penguin and he gets annoyed and pecks at others who try to do the same.

Dindim stays with his savior for around eight months every year until he disappears to be somewhere on the coasts of Argentina and Chile to spend time breeding with other penguins.

Experts believe the penguin travels 5,000 miles every year to be with the man who saved his life. 

Joao and Dindim
Joao and Dindim: Screenshot from a video

The New York Post shared biologist Joao Paulo Krajewski’s view on this strange relationship, who admitted that he had never seen anything like this earlier. 

According to Krajewski, Dindim believes Joao is a penguin too, and a part of his family. The penguin squeals with delight and wags his tail like a dog when he sees Joao. 

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Experts advise against forming a bond with rescued animals to help them get back comfortably into the wild.

But the case of Joao and Dindim is a rare one, and authorities allow Dindim to stay with Joao due to his kindness. 

Joao is happy to share “a very special relationship” with the penguin as Dindim also appears more loving and affectionate with every passing year.

Maya Bennett