The Journey Of Dindim

There’s an old adage that states: “If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.” When Joao Pereira de Souza found Dindim he was just a baby penguin who needed help. Dindim was covered in crude oil and likely wouldn’t have survived if Souza hadn’t cleaned him up and nursed him back to health. He even handfed the little guy sardines to make sure he was getting enough to eat. Dindim is a Magellanic Penguin, one of the kind that lives off of the Patagonian South American coastline.

After Souza believed Dindim had recovered his strength, he released him on a nearby island. Only, later that day he heard some familiar sounds coming from his yard. Turns out Dindim wasn’t quite ready to leave. The little penguin decided to become a resident at his savior’s home and lived out in the yard for several months before disappearing one day.

Souza likely thought that was the last he’d ever see of Dindim but like a kid coming home from college, as soon as summer arrived Dindim had come back (except without a bag of dirty clothes.) Every year this is how it’s been. Dindim leaves in February to return to his breeding grounds and then comes back in June to live with Souza. It’s an odd arrangement but one that seems to be working out well for both of them. No one knows for certain where Dindim goes when he leaves but it likely isn’t thousands of miles away as some sources have reported.


Dindim got his name from Souza’s grandson who couldn’t pronounce penguin.
(João Paulo Krajewski)
Penguins of this type typically live up to 15 years. Dindim is 6 this year.
(Rio de Janeiro Federal University)
TV Globo
Souza was a 71 year old retired mason when he discovered the stranded penguin.
(TV Globo)
Dindim likely imprinted on the family and will live with them for the rest of his life.
(TV Globo)
Dindim is free to come and go as he pleases and mostly lives outside in the yard.
(Rio de Janeiro Federal University)
It’s likely he wouldn’t have survived without Souza’s intervention.
(Paul Kiernan/Wall Street Journal)
Normally professionals in animal rescue advise not getting attached but this is a special case
(Paul Kiernan/Wall Street Journal)

It’s too bad this friendship had to be forged through tragedy. Although it’s great that a person was able to offer a helping hand and a home to this helpless penguin, it’s important to remember it was also people who polluted his waters with crude oil in the first place. As far as nature is concerned, prevention is always preferable to intervention.


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