Fungie, Beloved Irish Dolphin, Goes Missing, Feared Dead
Fears are mounting for the fate of friendly bottlenose dolphin Fungie, a star tourist attraction in the Irish town of Dingle, after he disappeared without a trace last week. Divers on Sunday searched the seabed in Dingle Harbor for any trace of Fungie and also used sonar to scan the seafloor. Some local fishermen say they caught a glimpse of Fungie late last week, but there has been no sign of him since. Capt. Jimmy Flannery of Dingle Dolphin Tours said that despite the “extensive” search, there was still no sign of Fungie. “There’s no doubt about it, this is totally out of character for him. I’m doing this for the last 33 years and in all that time he has never disappeared for this length of time, so it is very worrying.” There is a wide range of opinion on the lifespan of dolphins. Wild bottlenose dolphins are estimated to usually live less than 20 years, although one is known to have lived for at least 67 years. Fungie was first seen in Dingle Harbor in 1983, and made the bay his home, interacting playfully with swimmers, surfers, kayakers and divers in the water, rejecting other dolphins. There has been speculation that Fungie has been depressed and discouraged by low visitor numbers as a result of the pandemic.