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Thursday 18 September 2014

After 30 years in deep cover Fungi surfaces as a Brit  

Published 27/04/2013 | 08:23

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HE HAS been a resident for three decades but nobody has ever really known where Fungi the dolphin came from.

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Until now. A marine expert claims Fungi, who turned up in Dingle harbour in 1983, could in fact be a Brit.

An estimated 90,000 people visit the town each year, delighted by Fungi's antics as he frolics in the water for boatloads of tourists.

This weekend Dingle celebrates the 30th anniversary of his arrival with a festival in honour of its most famous resident.

Oceanworld Aquarium's Kevin Flannery believes Fungi was one of a number of dolphins that either escaped from or were released from a UK dolphinarium in the 1980s.

"There were dolphinariums around the south of England, in Brighton and so on, but in the early 1980s there were huge objections to holding marine animals in captivity and they opened the sluice gates basically and released them," Mr Flannery told the Irish Independent.

"They had been taken from their pods (families), were semi-used to humans and they were left out into the sea in the south of England and suddenly these singular dolphins started to turn up." He said 'Freddie' arrived in Northumberland, 'Donal' in Cornwall, 'Jean Luc' in France and 'Fungi' in Ireland.

But while Donal, Freddie and Jean-Luc have long since moved on, Fungi seems happy to remain in Dingle. But, he believes, he could change his mind one day and leave. "I hope it will last but it's inevitable he will go," Mr Flannery said.

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