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‘Putin killed town’s beloved dolphin mascot’ says politician after it disappears
January 26, 2021
Fungie the Dolphin was a much-loved sight in the waters off Dingle in southwest Ireland.
The unusually friendly creature was first sighted in the early 1980s and swimmers, surfers, kayakers and divers in the are got used to Fungie coming to play with them while they were in the water.
But he hasn’t been seen since late last year, and local Senator Ned O’Sullivan says that the Russian Navy may be to blame.
Speaking in the Irish parliament, he said” “Fungie has been a huge loss to Kerry and to Kerry tourism. Things will not fully get back to normal in Kerry until he is back.”
Senator O’Sullivan thinks that indiscriminate use of high-powered sonar could be responsible for Fungie’s disappearance said: “It could be the Russians,” he said. “It could be Putin.”
Referring to an Irish newspaper noted for its coverage of world affairs, he added: “Like the Skibbereen Eagle, I am keeping a watchful eye on Russia.”
Responding to Senator O’Sullivan’s comments, Green minister Malcolm Noonan said that he shared his concerns about the impact of sonar and other technologies on marine mammals.
Sinn Féin front-bencher Eoin Ó Broin also expressed concerns about the use of echo-location in Irish waters, referring in particular to a recent NATO exercise, Operation Dynamic Mongoose, a submarine-hunting war-game which brought ships and aircraft from six nations to the area.
Fungie is – or was – a wild Bottlenose Dolphin. They’re social animals, swimming in groups of the town kind, but are rarely as friendly to humans as Fungie was.
While the oldest dolphin of his species was thought to have lived until it was 67, they rarely live beyond the age of 6 or 17 in the wild.
In 2019, Fungie was listed in the Guinness World Records as the oldest solitary wild dolphin in the world.