Despite a possible sighting by a fishing boat yesterday morning, boatmen in Co Kerry have renewed concerns that the famous Dingle Dolphin may still be missing.
The boatmen say they have not seen Fungie, the popular bottlenose dolphin for three days now, leading to speculation that it may have left the area or possibly died.
Today, up to six boats undertook an extensive search of Dingle Harbour and part of Dingle Bay, focusing on the areas usually frequented by Fungie. Despite reports of a possible sighting by a fishing boat yesterday morning, there was still no sign of the dolphin throughout the day.
Boatman Seán Flannery said Fungie has set habits and rarely leaves his preferred area.
"This is a bit worrying now alright. It's very unusual. Probably, the longest we’ve ever had to look for him in the past was five or six hours. He’d always show up at some stage. This is not normal.
"One of the fishing boats said they saw him yesterday morning. Other than that sighting, none of the dolphin boats have seen him yet. That doesn’t mean he’s not around though."
Mr Flannery said he is hoping that Fungie may have joined a visiting pod of dolphins, or may have gone in to hiding.
"There’s been a lot of activity in the bay. We’ve had a pod of dolphins out here feeding on sprat. Maybe Fungie has joined them. It’s more likely however that he has gone hiding from them for a while. He prefers to stay on his own."
The search for Fungie has been stood down this evening, but the boatmen say they will resume again at first light tomorrow morning.