“Despite everyone’s skepticism, he has been coming back to me every year.”
Just like humans, penguins also have a strong memory of the person who helped them in difficult times. Jinjing, a South American Magellanic Penguin, is a great example of this. Every year, Jinjing travels 5,000 miles to meet the human who saved him.
João Pereira de Souza, a part-time fisherman, discovered Jinjing lying motionless on a beach in a small island village near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and nursed him back to health.
Jinjing, a South American Magellanic Penguin, was found by part-time fisherman João Pereira de Souza covered in oil and barely moving or breathing on a local beach in an island village outside Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. João wasn’t sure if the penguin was going to make it but he named him Jinjing and was determined to help the penguin survive. Jinjing was cleaned off and nursed back to health by João on a steady fish diet. Eventually, Jinjing was healthy enough to return to the wild.
João took Jinjing to an island and left him there, thinking that he had done all he could do to help the penguin. But to his surprise, João found Jinjing back in his backyard later that day, refusing to leave. Jinjing stayed with João for another 11 months, during which time he grew and changed. Eventually, Jinjing disappeared after his new feathers had grown in.
A few months later, João heard familiar squawking in his backyard, and Jinjing had returned for another visit. Since then, Jinjing has made it a point to visit João every year.
João doesn’t know where Jinjing goes after his visits, but some people believe he spends his time breeding off the coast of Argentina and Chile.
It seems like Jinjing enjoys a good life!
The distance between João’s house and the breeding grounds is believed to be around 5,000 miles round trip, but it is uncertain.
Regardless, Jinjing never misses an opportunity to visit his old friend who rescued him.
And he always greets his friend with a kiss.
According to Metro, penguins are known to be faithful birds that will travel as far as 10,000 miles in search of food and to reunite with family and mates that they love.
One scientist found a couple of penguins who stayed together for 16 years even though they made solo journeys of up to 200,000 miles.
It is believed that Jinjing thinks of João as his own family, possibly even as a fellow penguin.
“I love this penguin like it’s my own child, and I believe Jinjing feels the same way about me,” says João.
Jinjing is very particular about who touches him, as anyone else who tries to do so will get a peck from him. According to João, Jinjing will only allow him to touch him. João is able to give Jinjing showers, feed him sardines and pick him up. Despite initial doubts, Jinjing has been returning to João every year.
Jinjing comes to visit João every year from June to February.
João says, “Every year he becomes more affectionate, as he appears happier to see me.”
Watch the heartwarming video below of João and Jinjing’s special relationship. Don’t forget to share it with your friends and family!