Fungie, Is That You? Some Hope Ireland's Favorite Dolphin Is Alive as 1 Is Spotted Leaping in Galway Bay

Stock image of a bottlenose dolphin.
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Is Fungie, the beloved bottlenose dolphin that disappeared from Ireland’s Dingle Bay in October, still alive?

Is Fungie, the beloved bottlenose dolphin that disappeared from Ireland’s Dingle Bay in October, still alive?

Some speculate that Fungie, who has been living in the harbor for 37 years and has been missing for more than six months, is most likely gone for good.

That was until Feb. 28, when video footage surfaced of a large dolphin leaping more than 10 feet in the air out of the waters off the coast of Galway Bay. The video was captured by two fishermen from their small boat on Sunday, and both seemed equally mesmerized by the sighting, IrishCentral reported

"Ooh look at that!" said one of the fishermen.

"Oh My God!" said the other.

Steve Sweeney was one of the men who posted the stunning image on his social media, which further fueled speculation that Fungie may still be alive and well, and living in Ireland's Galway Bay, IrishCentral reported.

Some said the dolphin looks like Fungie, as others argued that the dolphin in the image looks too young. When Fungie disappeared, it was reported that he had been at least 40 years old, according to the newspaper.

Dr. Simon Berrow has been studying dolphins in the Shannon Estuary for almost 30 years, and in the past, said that he and his team have discovered at least two other dolphins thought to be dead in new locations. Berrow said Sunday’s dolphin sighting was a “hopeful” sign. 

Caroline Boland, from Dingle Peninsula Tourism Alliance, told The Irish Examiner back in October when the dolphin first went missing that Fungie was "family to everyone in Dingle," and said that "people are devastated that he is missing."

 "When Fungie appeared here in 1983 there was no such thing as tourism - emigration was rife, fishing was under threat and there were no jobs," said Boland, who explained that Fungie helped put Dingle Peninsula on the map as a tourist destination.

"It was only as the story of Fungie spread that people started arriving and asked to go out and see the dolphin, and that's how the boat trips started," she told The Examiner. 

Fungie was named the oldest solitary dolphin in the world by Guinness World Records in 2019, the newspaper reported.