Four years ago, Joao Pereira de Souza, 71, found a South American Magellanic penguin covered in oil and starving on a beach on an island off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. A friendship was born.
Since they met in 2011, the creature, which normally breeds on the Patagonia coasts of Argentina and Chile, three to five thousand miles away, has become a faithful companion, swimming every year from its habitat to spend up to eight months living with the retired fisherman in his house on the island.
“I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me,” said Mr Pereira de Souza in an interview with Globo TV, in which the bird honks with delight as he recognises his human friend. “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,” said Mr Pereira who has named the penguin Dindim.
Biologist Joao Paulo Krajewski, who interviewed Mr Pereira de Souza for Globo TV, told The Independent: “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.”
Here's a video of the two hanging together: