In an unlikely bromance, a retired Brazilian bricklayer and a penguin have become the best of friends.
In 2011 71-year-old fisherman Joao Pereira de Souza found a penguin on his local beach, north of Rio de Janeiro, starving and covered in oil.
Joao took the penguin home. Cleaned his tarred fathers and nursed him back to health by feeding him freshly caught sardines.
When the penguin was strong enough de Souza released him back to the ocean and wished him well. He expected to never to see him again. But later that same day he found him back in his yard. And he wouldn’t leave. Each day the penguin would go swimming and then return to Joao’s home. Joao called him Dindim, after his 2 year old grandson who couldn’t pronounce the Portuguese word for penguin — pinguim.
The penguin and the human formed a beautiful loving bond. Then after 11 months, Dindim changed his coat with new feathers, and he left. Joao never expected to see his friend ever again.
But the following June Dindim returned. When he saw Joao he honked and wagged his tail in delight. They became best buddies again.
Didem stayed until February. When he left, only to return 4 months later.
“Everyone said he wouldn’t return but he has been coming back to visit me for the past four years,” de Souza said in 2016. “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 biologist Joao Paulo Krajewski, the 8 months Dindim spends with Souza are the same months other members of his species spend farther south breeding.
“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.”
NB: When this story originally broke it was claimed de Souza was a fisherman, he is in fact a retired bricklayer. Reports also said the penguin swam 5000 miles every year to see his human friend, but biologist says they don’t know where Didem goes every year but it’s unlikely he travels that far.
You can watch a video on the unlikely true story of the friendship between a penguin and a human below.