Penguin returns every year to man who nursed it back to health

Joao Pereira de Souza saved the penguin when he found it caked in oil. Credit: TV Globo

A penguin and a part-time fisherman in Brazil appear to have struck up a lasting friendship after he found the bird covered in oil and nursed it back to health.

Joao Pereira de Souza found the bird on rocks nearly five years ago and spent over a week saving its life and now it swims 5,000 miles every year to return to see him and only leaves to breed.

In an interview with Globo TV, Mr Pereira de Souza said: “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".

The penguin honks and wags its tail when it sees Joao Pereira de Souza. Credit: TV Globo

Experts believe the South American Magellanic penguin, which Mr Pereira de Souza named Dindim, probably thinks the 71-year-old retired bricklayer is another penguin as when it see him it honks and wags its tail.

But Mr Pereira de Souza thinks the penguin is just grateful for him saving its life.

He said: “I’m flattered Dindim is happy to exchange his home with thousands of other penguins every year to find his way here to spend one-to-one time with me.

“It’s a very special relationship.”