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Irish celebrity bottlenose dolphin has not been seen for more than a week; fears rise that Dingle dolphin is gone forever

The world’s oldest solitary dolphin, has not been seen for a week. Fungie, a bottlenose dolphin that has been living at the entrance to Dingle Harbor since 1983 is missing.

Over the past 37 years, this wild marine mammal from the scenic County Kerry coast in Ireland’s southwest has become an Irish celebrity.

The dolphin had returned three or four hours later when it had previous disappeared, but this time it had not been seen for more than a week, and people in Ireland are worried about whether Fungie will return or not.

Fungie was first seen at Dingle Harbor in the 1980s. From then on, it was the excitement and attraction of locals and tourists.

Dáithí Ó Se, a TV presenter and a native of Kerry, said that Fungie had not only been an integral part of the community, but had also become a significant economic benefit for the rural area. Mr. Dáithí estimated that Fungie has generated up to €1bn for Ireland, attracting people from all over the world to visit the country.

“He’s been there for over 30 years, bringing people down to see him, and then being part of every advertising campaign to get people to Kerry and to Ireland. He was a Godsend,” the co-host of RTÉ One’s Today show said.

Jimmy Flannery, chairperson of Dingle Dolphin Boat Tours said that, “he is as close to a missing person as could be”.

“We had 12 boats searching by Saturday, and on Sunday, divers from the Mallow Search and Rescue team carried out an extensive search of the coves and inlets where he would normally be seen. They also carried out a sonar scan of the seabed, but there was no trace,” said Mr. Flannery.

While the official search is now off, the locals will continue to watch for any signs of the beloved dolphin.

Mr. Flannery said “Fungie is a part of all of our lives. “We are hoping that he has swam off on an adventure. We live in hope that he might come back again,” he added.

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