FUNGIE the Dingle dolphin has now been missing for more than four days.
The whereabouts of Ireland’s most famous sea mammal is proving to be a major cause of concern for people from across the Kerry Coast and beyond.
Ever since the alarm was first raised late on Thursday, October 15, search parties have been scouring the waters where the wild bottlenose dolphin has been known to reside.
Anywhere up to six boats have been involved in a search that begins at first light and concludes as the sun sets.
While searches were initially limited to the mouth of Dingle Harbour, the area being covered has since been expanded to include a ten-mile stretch along the west coast of Kerry.
And at least one boatman is fearful of what they might find.
Speaking to RTE, Gary Brosnan admitted the situation was “fairly serious now”.
"Fungievery, rarely leaves the mouth of the harbour and he has never, ever been missing for this long," he said.
"We have an easterly wind blowing off the land at the moment and that tends to drive fish-life away out to sea.
"Our hope is that Fungie has gone out following the feed and will come back to us once the wind comes around to the south-west," he said.
"We spotted a pod of common dolphins feeding about two miles out to sea, but Fungie wasn't amongst them. That’s no surprise though, he doesn’t like common dolphins," he added.
The search comes despite one fisherman claiming to have seen Fungie in the hours following the announcement claiming the dolphin had gone missing.
Dingle’s most famous mammal, Fungie the dolphin previously set a new Guinness World Record for being the longest recorded solitary dolphin on the planet.
A Dingle resident for some 37 years, Fungie was first spotted off the Co Kerry coast way back in 1983.
He has remained ever since, transforming the coastal area into something of a tourist hotspot with visitors arriving in the hopes of spotting the friendly dolphin up close.