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Dindim the penguin returns every year to visit his human best friend

We have all heard dogs being referenced to as “man’s best friend” and being loyal to their owners, but now it appears that penguins can be equally affectionate and loyal. At least this is the case with one penguin and man in South America.

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Biologist Joao Paulo Krajewski has been documenting this story for the Brazilian media network Globo TV, published this unique story on March 6. Since then, the media has been eating it up and has unsurprisingly been exaggerating the story.

Before we get into that though, here is the backstory. Magellanic penguins live off the coast of Patagonia in South America. In 2011, a Magellanic penguin was caught in an oil spill and was washed up onto Proveta Beach which is along Rio de Janeiro’s coast. This happened to also be the backyard of Joao Pereira de Souza, a 71-year old retired bricklayer.

De Souza discovered the penguin and spent a week cleaning and nursing the penguin back to health. He then released him back into the ocean only to discover that the penguin returned to his backyard later that day. It then stayed until February 2012 until it decided to disappeared one day. While the penguin was around, de Souza’s grandson became attached to the penguin and would try and say ‘pinguim’ which is Portuguese for penguin. But it would come out sounding more like ‘dindim’ hence where the penguin’s name came from.

Dindim later returned in June and then stayed around until February of the next year when it would leave again. Krajewski explains that "Because penguins are usually very loyal to their pair and breeding site, where they spend the summer, they tend to come back to the same place every year.”

Here though is where the media have embellished the story quite a bit. They claim that the penguin travels 5,000 miles every year from Patagonia to visit him, but the fact is they are unsure as to where Dindim goes during those 4 months. Brazil’s Ubatuba Aquarium have recently tagged him and taken blood samples which will help with future research.

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