Kerry’s biggest tourist attraction is a Brit – a marine expert claims Fungi escaped from a British dolphinarium in the 1980s.
The dolphin has attracted thousands of tourists to Dingle every year since his arrival in 1983.
The cash has rolled in since Fungi first appeared off the Irish coastline with up to 90,000 visitors every year.
Locals have long debated where Fungi came from and how he landed up off Kerry.
Now locally based marine expert Kevin Flannery has claimed that Fungi escaped from British.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Flannery made the claim as Dingle celebrated the 30th anniversary of his arrival with a festival in honour of its most famous resident.
Oceanworld Aquarium’s Flannery told the paper that he believes Fungi was one of a number of dolphins that either escaped from or were released from a UK dolphinarium in the 1980s.
Flannery said: “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.
“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.
“‘Freddie’ arrived in Northumberland, ‘Donal’ in Cornwall, ‘Jean Luc’ in France and ‘Fungi’ in Ireland.”
Whilst his three buddies have moved on from original landing spots, Fungi seems happy to remain in Dingle.
But Flannery warns that he could up and leave in an instant.
He added: “ I hope it will last but it’s inevitable he will go.”
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