'Everyone is very worried' - massive search operation for Fungie the dolphin as fears grow for his s

A MASSIVE search operation resumed in Kerry at first light today amid mounting fears for the safety of Fungie, Dingle's legendary dolphin.

espite a reported sighting of the Common Bottlenose Dolphin last Thursday morning, there has been no trace of Fungie in Dingle Bay either on Friday or Saturday.

Now, eight craft began a search for the third day of extended waters around the west Cork port where Fungie normally feeds and frolics.

He wasn't seen last Wednesday - and, despite the sighting on Thursday morning by a local fisherman, there was no trace of Fungie on Friday or Saturday despite a fleet of boats out looking for him.

The search has now been extended to a near 15km stretch of coastline off Dingle. This is far wider than Fungie's normal area of activity.

Fishing boats have also been asked to keep a lookout for Fungie in case he has followed shoals of fish far out to sea to feed.

The sighting last Thursday prompted hopes that Fungie was merely avoiding his normal areas of activity because of the presence of other dolphins and even whales.

Fisherman Paul Hand said he was "one thousand per cent certain" he spotted Fungie last Thursday.

However, avid Fungie watchers fear that something is badly wrong and that the dolphin may either be sick or dead.

Worry has been compounded by the fact Fungie normally never leaves his traditional patrol area for more than a few hours.

Dingle Sea Safari boat operator Jimmy Flannery said it is not like Fungie at all.

Last May Jimmy took his boat out at ....

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