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Penguin travels over 8000 kilometres each year to visit man that saved his life

Click to play video: 'Penguin returns to Brazil every year to visit man who saved his life'
Penguin returns to Brazil every year to visit man who saved his life
WATCH ABOVE: Grateful penguin travels 8000 kilmetres each year to visit the man that saved his life. – Mar 11, 2016

For four years, a plucky Magellanic South American penguin nicknamed Dindin has reportedly made a remarkable 8,000 kilometre journey.

Magellanic South American penguins are known for their long migration patterns, but Dindin’s journey is a little outside the norm.

As first reported by the Wall Street Journal in October of last year, his destination is a beach near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – allegedly to visit the man who, four years ago, saved his life.

Souza is a retired bricklayer and part-time fisherman who discovered Dindin on a beach near Rio in 2011, covered in oil and on the verge of starving to death.

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Over the course of a week, Souza says he nursed the ailing penguin back to health. He says man and bird formed an inseparable bond during that time.

“He wouldn’t leave, he stayed with me for 11 months and then just after he changed his coat with new feathers, he disappeared,” Souza said.

But the grateful penguin just couldn’t stay away, and now multiple news agencies report the bird makes return trips each year to visit Souza in Brazil.

The Independent in the UK reports Dindin arrives each year at the end of the penguin’s breeding period – around June – and leaves again in February.

“Everyone said he wouldn’t return but he has been coming back to visit me for the past four years,” Souza told the Independent. “He arrives in June and leaves to go home in February, and every year he becomes more affectionate as he appears even happier to see me.”

Magellanic South American penguins are known for travelling long distances during their annual migrating patterns. The birds breed in large colonies on the coast of Patagonia – Argentina, southern Chile, and the Falkland Islands, near South America’s southern tip.

That means Dindin could be travelling up to 8,000 kilometers round trip to make his yearly visit to Souza.

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“I think he goes to Patagonia,” Souza told Globo TV. “I would like to [go] too, if I could.”

“I would visit the place of the penguins. There I would want to see if he would come to me in the middle of the [other] penguins.”

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Magellanic South American penguins live to be about 25 years old, and are known for their incredible loyalty, generally staying with one mate for their entire lives.

“I have never seen anything like this before,” Biologist Joao Paulo Krajewski, who interviewed Souza for Globo TV, told The Independent. “I think the penguin believes Joao is part of his family and probably a penguin as well. When he sees him he wags his tail like a dog and honks with delight.”

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