Dindum, a South American Magellanic penguin, lives eight months out of the year with the retired fisherman who saved him in 2011.
The penguin was rescued in May 2011 by Mr João Pereira de Souza, in Provetá Beach, Ilha Grande, Rio de Janeiro State, first reported on by João Paulo Krajewski, who works for Rede Globo de Televisão. The retired fisherman de Souza found this South American Magellanic penguin covered in oil and starving and nursed it back to health.
de Souza named the penguin Dindim, who wags his tail and “honks with delight” every time he sees him.
According to Krajewski,
“The penguin was covered in oil and could barely move. Mr. Joao cleaned and fed the penguin for days until, according to Joao’s judgment, Dindim was strong enough to be released in the sea. Joao took the penguin in a boat, went to a nearby island and released the animal. The same day the penguin went straight back to Joao’s backyard at Provetá beach, stayed there until Feb next year and then went out to the sea. Next June Dindim returned to Mr. Joao’s house and made several vocal calls when he saw the man.”
de Souza explains, “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,” according to The Independent.
After de Souza first tried to return the penguin to the sea, he said:
“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.”
According to Krajewski, Dindum is approximately a six-year-old male.
Penguins live for roughly 25 years. They are known to mate and stay with their same partner until they die.