A much-beloved dolphin who became something of a local celebrity has reportedly been spotted off the Irish coast after suddenly vanishing six months ago.
Fungie, the much-loved solitary dolphin, first appeared in Dingle Bay, off the coast of Ireland's County Kerry, in 1983 and since then has become one of the area's most beloved residents.
But since November last year, the sea animal mysteriously vanished and locals have been hoping for Fungie's return.
On Sunday (April 11), a video posted on ORCA Ireland Facebook shows a bottlenose dolphin interacting with boats off the Old Head of Kinsale.
The playful dolphin can be seen larking around in the water in front of some boats in the area.
ORCA Ireland said this is the second sighting of the individual solitary bottlenose dolphin off Kinsale and they say it could well be Fungie, reported Cork Beo.
They posted along with the video, asking: "Let us know if you encounter this solitary dolphin as it is exhibiting highly unusual behaviour while seeking out interactions. Could this possibly be a sighting of Fungie? Send us images and videos and help us to find out!"
Residents who are familiar with Fungie believed it was a second dolphin as they pointed out the differences in details.
One wrote: "It 100 % not Fungie. He moves differently… does not have the scar on his head and does not have the same fluke tail."
"The tails are completely different. Please stop giving false hope," a second added.
Dolphins have a life expectancy of around 50 and Dr Kevin Flannery, a marine biologist in the local area, said in November that time could simply have run out for Fungie.
However, old age is not the only possible cause for Fungie's mysterious disappearance – there could be happier reasons.
Fungie could have left the bay because of large numbers of other dolphins in the local area.
He could also have been chasing sprat, which are dolphins favourite food, further out to sea, the expert added.
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