Concern for the welfare of Fungie, ubiquitous since 1983 at the mouth of Dingle Harbor, is growing.
Yesterday, up to six boats continued to search for the wild dolphin, expanding the area to a 12 km stretch of sea along the west coast of Kerry.
Boaters told RTÉ that it was extremely unusual for Fungie to have left the port mouth during this time.
They said that in the past they had to look for him for five to six hours at the most. The dolphin has been missing since Tuesday.
He may have been sighted by a fishing boat early Thursday morning, but no further sightings have been reported.
Fungie, a wild bottlenose dolphin, first came to Dingle in 1983. His friendly manner and eagerness to interact with people helped make Dingle a major tourist destination, with people coming from far and wide to see the lively dolphin.
Concern is growing in the town of Dingle, where many locals rely on the dolphin-generated tourism spin-off.
Up to 12 boats go daily with over 50 employees. The trips also generate significant visitor numbers for restaurants, pubs, souvenir shops, hotels and guest houses.
Dingle boaters will still look for Funghie today.
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