Patagonian penguin alters migration each year to visit the man who saved his life

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8th Feb 2016
Written by: Will Jones

Penguin pal visits saviour each year

Five years ago, a retired bricklayer called Joao Pereira de Souza found a penguin drenched in oil on the beach near his home in Brazil. Realising the bird would be doomed if left unaided, Joao took him home, cleaned him up and fed him sardines. And named him Jingjing.

Once Jingjing had regathered his strength, his kindly saviour took him back out to sea and released him back into his natural environment. Job well done.

Except when Joao returned home from his rehabilitation mission, Jingjing was already there patiently waiting for him. And so began a five year friendship that endures to this day. A penguin pal, if you like.

Jingjing is a Magellanic penguin (named after the famous explorer who first sighted them in 1520) and native to Patagonia in the far south of South America. His species migrate thousands of miles north each year to warmer climes, which explains how he was discovered in Brazil, before returning south to their breeding grounds.

Jingjing still heads south each year to create Jingjing juniors but always returns to Joao, and spends anything up to eight months a year with his human friend.

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