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Fears about Fungie raised again after no sighting of Dingle dolphin for hours

Fungie usually stays within Dingle harbour, and the most he hasn’t been sighted for is 5-6 hours.

File photo. Fungie the dolphin has been in the Dingle peninsula for almost 40 years.
File photo. Fungie the dolphin has been in the Dingle peninsula for almost 40 years.
Image: Seán Ó Mainnín

Updated Oct 16th 2020, 8:05 PM

CONCERNS HAVE BEEN raised again about the whereabouts of the Dingle dolphin Fungie.

Concerns were originally raised last night that the popular dolphin hadn’t been seen, but a local fisherman Paul Hand said he spotted the dolphin off the Dingle coast in Kerry.

But this sighting was yesterday, and hours have passed by again where the dolphin hasn’t been seen – which local sea-farers say is very unusual. 

At 5pm today, a Facebook page belonging to ‘Dingle Sea Safari Tours’ said that they had been searching for Fungie for almost 12 hours.

“Our Fungie boat [has] been out searching for Fungie since 8am this morning.

So far, there has been no sighting reported. We have to say at this stage it is very unusual for Fungie not to show himself for this length of time we will keep you updated as time goes on hopefully will have better news by later today.

Dingle fishermen and locals spoke to RTÉ’s reporter Seán Mac an tSítigh and said that the longest they had spent looking for Fungie previously would have been “five or six hours”, adding that he usually stays within the harbour boundary.

Mac an tSítigh, who is also a Dingle local, added that a pod of dolphins in the bay recently may have prompted the solitary creature to move away for a few days.

Earlier concerns and sightings

Concerns had raised last night about the dolphin after he hadn’t been spotted. But the Facebook page ‘Fungie Forever Photos of the Dingle Dolphin’ had posted that a search had been conducted yesterday to try track the dolphin down.

Last night, the Fungie Facebook page posted an update that he’d been spotted by a local fisherman.

Speaking to RTÉ News, fisherman Paul Hand said: “I am one thousand percent certain it was Fungie. I’ve been looking at him for the last 40 years. It was definitely him. He swam alongside my boat for a spell as I headed out in to the bay.”

Hand said that there were a number of other bottlenose dolphins in the area in recent days, which may explain why Fungie wasn’t to be seen in the usual spots he occupies.

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He said: “There’s a share of other bottlenose dolphins out in the bay at the moment because the place is full of sprat. I saw at least five or six of them out there yesterday.

“There’s a lot of feeding going on and what’s happening is Fungie’s is following the fishing boats out in to the bay and is deciding to stay feeding with the other dolphins. He is enjoying the company.”

The bottlenose dolphin is said to have been first spotted in Dingle in 1983 but had been feared to have been missing after he hadn’t been seen since Wednesday morning. 

During tourist season, the friendly Fungie is a popular attraction with thousands flocking hoping to see the dolphin, and boat tours centered around offering sightings of him.

About the author:

Sean Murray

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