HOPES of finding Fungie, the famous Dingle dolphin who has been missing since October 2020, have been dashed after a recent sighting was confirmed not to be him.
A lone bottle-nose dolphin was spotted interacting with boats over the weekend off the coast of Co. Cork, leading many to believe it was Fungie, who had been a permanent fixture in Dingle Bay since 1983 until his unexplained disappearance last year.
ORCA Ireland - a group dedicated to looking after marine life around Ireland's coasts - examined footage and photographs of the sighting, and sadly confirmed that it wasn't Fungie, noting that this dolphin had "much whiter cheeks".
Thank you to @effeil53 for your great input about #facialrecognition of #Fungie vs. the dolphin reported to the @ObserversApp from Kinsale! Much whiter cheeks than Fungie indicating they are not the same animal! We need more pics to #FindFungie @TilenGenov @NeilRedFM @pure_cork pic.twitter.com/UEL1HTWmmd
— Ocean Research & Conservation Association (@ORCA_Ireland) April 11, 2021
Fungie's reappearance would fly in the face of all logic, given that search boasts spent days tirelessly looking for the dolphin last October only to ultimately call off the search.
Fungie could be seen more-or-less every day in Dingle Bay ever since he first appeared 37 years ago, but six months ago, he vanished without a trace, just as mysteriously as he arrived.
A variety of explanations for his disappearance have been offered up. Some say he may have migrated, some predict that he sadly died, while others have even suggested that he was kidnapped (dolpinapped?), but a gloomy reality seems to have finally dawned on a country still in mourning, that Fungie, sadly, is gone and it doesn't look like he's coming back.
In late October, when the search for Fungie was called off, Dingle Sea Safari, who saw Fungie nearly 365 days of the year, said that while they'd accepted their beloved dolphin was gone, they wouldn't be giving up hope that they'd ever see him again.
"At this stage, we are calling off the search in the hopes that Fungie has just gone off on an adventure.
"If he chooses, he will return to us."
(2/🐬) We have analysed the most recent report to the @ObserversApp by Jasper and extracted dorsal fin ID images, albeit also not very clear, and can see this individual has distinctive markings unlike #Fungie. We can see a match between Mike and Jaspers reports! #PhotoID pic.twitter.com/Hp6QX5QHiM
— Ocean Research & Conservation Association (@ORCA_Ireland) April 12, 2021