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Relief as Fungie the dolphin is back from dead

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Concern about Fungie’s well-being may have been premature

Concern about Fungie’s well-being may have been premature

Concern about Fungie’s well-being may have been premature

Ireland's favourite dolphin is alive and well, despite fears he had died.

He was spotted yesterday by a local fisherman off the coast of Dingle, Co Kerry, after being missing since Wednesday morning.

Fungie is the star of Dingle's tourist industry, and reports of his death had caused widespread concern both at home and abroad.

The Fungie Forever social media page said on Thursday that he had not been seen in the area for two days.

Certain

However, fisherman Paul Hand said yesterday he was "1,000pc certain" he had spotted him on Thursday.

Mr Hand said he had no doubt it was Fungie and that the dolphin appeared perfectly normal.

"I saw him yesterday morning," he said. "There's a lot of feed around Dingle Bay at the moment.

"It's not common to see a lot of bottlenose dolphins inside the bay."

Another local fisherman, Jimmy Flannery, said he had been taking his boat out twice a day at the height of the Covid-19 lockdown to keep Fungie company.

Fungie was first spotted off Dingle in the summer of 1983 and became an overnight tourist sensation with his antics.

He tends to prefer to be on his own but loves to interact with boats and sightseers.

Fungie fan Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae said he understood the concern that the Dingle dolphin had disappeared.

"If you close your eyes and you think about Fungie, the antics he gets up to in the bay and the faces he makes, it brings a smile," he said.

"Fungie is a reminder to us all of a happier world, a better place and a world without this virus.

"That's why everyone was so upset when they heard Fungie was missing.

"It's why everyone heaved a sigh of relief and had a smile on their faces when they heard the news that Fungie was alive and well and still swimming off Dingle," he said.

Fungie's age is unknown, but male bottlenose dolphins generally live for between eight and 17 years.

In exceptional cases, they have been known to live for nearly 70.