It’s often the case that when an animal is shown kindness by a human being, it remembers the act and feels gratitude for it throughout its entire life. This is definitely true about a Magellanic penguin nicknamed Jinjing. He swims 5,000 miles each year to visit 71-year-old Joao Pereira de Souza, a fisherman from an island village just outside Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Mr. Pereira de Souza had rescued Jinjing after he discovered him lying on a local beach drenched in oil and very close to death. He cleaned him up and nursed him back to health by feeding him a diet of fish to build his strength back up.
The unlikely duo first encountered each other back in 2011, and Jinjing stayed with Mr. Pereira de Souza for almost an entire year. Just after his new coat of feathers came through, however, he disappeared.
He wasn’t gone forever though – in fact, he showed up on the beach again, just a few months later, and followed the fisherman home. He now spends eight months of each year with him, and has done so ever since he was rescued five years ago.
“I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me,” Mr. Pereira de Souza told Globo TV. “No-one else is allowed to touch him. He pecks them if they do. He lies in my lap, lets me give him showers, allows me to feed him sardines and pick him up.”
“Everyone said he wouldn’t return, but he has been coming back to visit me for the past five years. He arrives in June and leaves to go home in February. Every year he becomes more affectionate as he appears even happier to see me,” he added.
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Biologists believe that Jinjing thinks Mr. Pereira de Souza is also a penguin, and that he forms part of his family. Jinjing wags his tail and honks with delight whenever he sees the man that saved his life. It just goes to show that the most unlikely of friendships can flourish in this world.
Content Source: Metro.co.uk
Video and Image Copyright: The Wall Street Journal
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