THE ONGOING search for Fungie the Dolphin has broken the hearts of locals in Dingle, Ireland and beyond.
The County Kerry icon has been missing for over seven days, and as each day passes without any sign, fears are growing the dolphin may never return.
Fungie became an instant celebrity when he appeared in Dingle Bay in 1983, and in the 37 years he has lived there, entertaining tourists and making firm friendships with locals, the longest he had ever disappeared before was around four hours.
Fishermen, divers and locals have been searching the area for the past week, extending the search by several miles every day, but hopes that Fungie was avoiding a pod of common dolphins or had been on an extra-long hunt are beginning to fade.
This week, the search will begin to wind down, and locals have admitted they fear he may never be found and will never return.
Last year, Fungie made worldwide headlines as he was named the world's longest-living solitary dolphin-- now outlets across the globe are picking up on a different story.
In England, America, Europe and even further afield, major outlets are reporting on Fungie's disappearance and possible demise.
BBC News shared the news of the dolphin's disappearance with the United Kingdom, with hundreds of people taking to the comments section to share their own memories of their trips to Ireland in recent years.
"Heartbreaking to hear this," one woman wrote. "Have been to see FUngie twice over the years. He is very special. Hope he hasn't passed away."
"I'm heartbroken," another agreed. "Me and my husband went to see Gunfie twice, amazing experience, love him praying he's found."
American broadcaster CNN updated the United States about the ongoing search for Fungie, and spoke to Dingle Dolphin Boat Tours chairperson Jimmy Flannery who said his disappearance was "totally out of character for him".
"He is as close to a missing person as could be," Flannery told CNN Travel. £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."
The New York Daily News, Spanish-language Univision, Portugese outlet Noticias ao Minuto, Indonesian Bisnis, Czech outlet TN and German outlet TAG24 are also among the international outlets reporting on Fungie's disappearance-- in the past 24 hours alone.
The reasons for this could be Fungie's status as the world's oldest solitary dolphin-- but the dolphin has drawn visitors from across the globe for over three decades.
It is likely that each outlet has hundreds or even thousands of readers who have travelled to the County Kerry village, and his loss is being felt around the world.