The connection between animals and humans can be beautiful, unusual or strained because of pollution, overfishing or violence. There are often tales involving humans and animals that show that, against all the odds, the bond between the species is remarkable and unshakeable.
One such story involves an elderly Brazilian man who has shown that animals and humans can form incredible bonds, despite their differences.
This involves a penguin who was close to death after having been caught in an oil spill. The Brazilian fisherman rescued the penguin and nursed the bird back to health. Following this act of incredible kindness, the penguin has journeyed thousands of miles every year to be around the hero who saved him from an awful death.
A retired bricklayer, Joao Pereira de Souza
came across a South American penguin that was barely alive after also becoming
tangled in an oily mess. Joao did everything he thought would help, cleaned the
bird thoroughly and gave it fish and water until it had regained enough
strength to return to the wild.
When Joao took Dindim – the name he gave to
the penguin – by boat to release him into the sea, he never thought that when
he returned home, he would find Dindim waiting for him! Joao has said: “I love the penguin-like he’s
my child and I believe the penguin loves me.”
After Dindim had been with Joao for 11 months and had gained a brand-new coat of feathers, the pair bid each other farewell, and Dindim returned to the sea.
Neighbors thought that would be the end of
Dindim, but the bird considered differently. He has returned every year since
2011, and will only allow Joao to pick him up, feed him and nuzzle his beak.
Anyone else who would like a cuddle gets a warning peck!
Experts believe that Dindim thinks that
Joao is part of his family and is also a penguin – although he doesn’t look
anything like a penguin! Neighbors have noticed that whenever Dindim sees his
friend Joao he “wags his tail like a dog and honks with delight.”
When Joao found Dindim near his how in Ilha Grande, close to Rio de Janeiro, he would never have thought that he and the bird would have begun such an incredible relationship. Every year, Dindim comes to visit Joao in June and stays until February.
The reason why there are not many stories, legends or myths about penguins, is just because they usually live in remote places. Therefore, ancient cultures did not have much contact with them.
Centuries later, penguins began to inspire characters in movies, books, video games, cartoons, television series, and the like, to the extent that we have almost forgotten that once were massively killed for their meat, skin and fat extract, among other applications.
Either way, penguins are not spiteful; they
rarely show fear toward people and can stay quietly close to them. Hence, the
relationships they had with the two men. What lovely inspiring stories!