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Penguin Swims 5,000 Miles Every Year to Visit Rescuer

March 10th, 2016

Seventy-one year old João Pereira de Souza, is a retired bricklayer and part-time fisherman near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Out one day five years ago, he came upon a dying penguin lying on some rocks, covered in oil and starving, according to news reports.

Mr. Pereira de Souza took the penguin in and was able to nurse it back to health. It reportedly took a week just to get the oil out of its feathers. He also fed it fish. And named it JingJing, according to the Wall Street Journal .

One day, after JingJing was healthy, he just waddled to beach … and disappeared. And everyone thought that was the end of that.

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A few months later … JingJing was back! Based on the penguins’ migration and breeding habits, JingJing is thought to swim about 5,000 miles round trip between Mr. Pereira de Souza’s house and the coast of Argentina and Chile where the penguins breed.

JingJing has now come back five years in a row! He spends about 8 months out of the year with Mr. Pereira de Souza. And has likely gone off to breed the rest of the time.

‘I love the penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me,’ Mr. Pereira de Souza told Globo TV as reported in the UK’s Daily Mail .

Scientists and neighbors alike are amazed by their relationship. JingJing won’t let anyone else but Mr. Pereira de Souza touch him. And when they re-unite,  JingJing wags his tail and honks.

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