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Patagonian Penguin Always Returns to the Human Who Saved His Life 5 Years Ago

João Pereira de Souza, a retired bricklayer from Rio de Janeiro, shares a heartwarming bond with a Magellanic penguin native to South America’s Patagonian region. For the past five years, the bird seems to have altered its natural migratory pattern just to be able to visit de Souza several times a year.

The unlikely friendship began in 2011, when de Souza found the bird, nicknamed Jinling, soaked in oil on the beach near his house. He brought the penguin home, cleaned him up, and offered him a meal of cool sardines and a shady spot to rest. Since then, Jinling has never stayed away from de Souza for too long.

Even though the kindhearted man tried to get the penguin reacquainted with the open sea after he got better, the bird just kept coming back. He even took him out in a boat, far from land and turned him loose in the ocean, but by the time he got back home, Jinling was already waiting for him.

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The Australian Canine Heroes Protecting a Colony of the World’s Smallest Penguins

Middle Island, a picturesque outcrop located off the coast of southern Victoria in Australia, is home to a colony of the world’s smallest penguins. Originally known as fairy penguins, these adorable little birds are no taller than a foot and weigh only about 1kg. There used to be hundreds of them at one point, but their population dwindled as they were hunted by foxes. That is, until a chicken farmer came up with an ingenious solution to use dogs as bodyguards for the penguins.  

The problem was first noticed in the year 2000, when the sea’s natural current led to increased sand-build up, encouraging a growth in the fox population. The island is uninhabited by humans, and separated from the mainland by a 30-meter stretch of water. So at low tide, it’s easy for the foxes to cross from the mainland and reach the island, and hunt the adorable penguins.

Soon, the fairy penguin population started dwindling to the point where they were in danger of being completely wiped out “We went from a point where we had about 800 penguins down to where we could only find four,” said Peter Abbott from the Penguin Preservation Project. “In our biggest bird kill, we found 360 birds killed over about two nights. Foxes are thrill killers. They’ll kill anything they can find. The colony really was on its last legs and just one more fox attack would’ve finished it off.”

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