Brazillian Man Makes A Penguin BFF

In March 2011, João Pereira de Souza​, a 71-year-old retired widower, found a Magellanic penguin from Patagonia washed up on a beach in Brazil near his home. The bird was covered in oil and fighting for his life.  The man cleaned the bird, fed him food and let him rest before bringing him back to the water—but the penguin wouldn’t leave his side.  After de Souza tried to release him back into the sea, the penguin swam back to land and made his way to de Souza’s home. And thus, a friendship was born.

Jingjing-PenguinThese days the penguin, now named JingJing, heads out to the sea for days, sometimes months, but JingJing always returns. ​”I never saw a critter get so attached. You can let him go wherever you want, but he’ll come back,” de Souza told The Wall Street Journal.​

The duo spends about eight months out of the year together, taking strolls on the beach and going for swims. Mostly, though, the bird just follows De Souza around. JingJing is now considered the “village mascot,” and locals say ​De Souza​ treats him “like a son.”

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