Penguin Swims 5,000 Miles Every Year to Be Reunited With the Man Who Saved His Life

So cute it could inspire a Disney movie.
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So cute it could inspire a Disney movie.

It might be illegal to keep wild animals as pets in Brazil, but that doesn't stop Dindim and his best friend 71-year-old Joao Pereira de Souza reuniting every year on the beaches of Brazil.

The unlikely pairing first met back in 2001 when De Souza discovered Dindim the South American Magellanic penguin on a beach covered in oil and close to death. De Souza, a now retired bricklayer and part time fisherman decided that he would nurse the penguin back to health however he struggled to let Dindim go once he was fully recovered. When he finally did let him go however he was shocked to see that Dindim returned the following year and he's been doing so ever since.

“I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me,” Joao told Globo TV. “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.”

After De Souza discovered Dindim covered in oil and close to death he decided to nurse the penguin back to health.

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Once he had made a full recovery De Souza struggled to let the loveable penguin go. Eventually though Dindim was set free...

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But to everyone's surprise Dindim has been returning every year for the last four years to see De Souza, travelling an incredible 8,000KM in the process!

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“I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me. When he sees him he wags his tail like a dog and honks with delight”

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“No one else is allowed to touch him. He pecks them if they do”

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An unusual friendship, the bond that the two of them share has even stumped Biologists who believe that Dindim sees De Souza as another penguin and part of the family.

h/t Independent, Boredpanda