We often underestimate the intelligence of animals, but they’re not only incredibly smart but they’re also very caring and compassionate. Take, for instance, Jinjiing the penguin, who still swims over 5,000 miles every year to come back and save the man who rescued him.
- Fisherman João Pereira de Souza found Jinjing when he was near death. The South American Magellanic penguin was covered in oil on a beach near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Without de Souza, there was no way he would ever survive.
- The 78-year-old fisherman knew he had to save Jinjing. de Souza not only cleaned all the oil off of the little guy, who wasn’t moving or breathing when he was found, but he also nursed him back to health by feeding him lots of tasty fish and giving him plenty of love and care.
- Jinjing eventually recovered and was ready to be released. So, de Sousa got in his boat and dropped the penguin off on a nearby island. However, later that day, Jinjing had swam back — he wasn’t ready to leave his rescuer. They ended up staying together for another 11 months.
- When Jinjing’s feathers finished growing, he was ready to venture out on his own. However, several months later, de Souza heard squawking in his backyard and saw that Jinjing had come back to see him.
- Jinjing comes back every single year to see de Souza. It’s an incredibly long journey, especially since the breeding grounds where it’s believed Jinjing goes are more than 5,000 miles away. How incredible! “I love this penguin like it’s my own child and I believe the penguin loves me,” de Souza said. “Every year he becomes more affectionate, as he appears happier to see me.”
- No one else can go near Jinjing but his rescuer — that’s how strong their bond is. He lies on my lap and lets me give him showers and allows me to feed him sardines and to pick him up,” João said. “Everyone said he wouldn’t return but he’s been coming back to me every year.