The Oldest Recorded Dolphin Swims Free

The Oldest Recorded Dolphin Swims Free

Image made using stock footage.

The oldest recorded dolphin on Earth is NOT actually in captivity. Meet Fungie. He is a bottlenose dolphin in Ireland that survived for nearly 40 years! Thanks to the people at Guinness World Records, we can see Fungie earning his spot with their platform for the oldest dolphin in History. Source: CNN

In 1983, he was first recorded in the waters of Dingle, Ireland. Since then, Fungie built a rapport with the locals. Everybody likes him! He can always be found interacting with boats and being friendly to fisherman. In October 2020, there was concern for his welfare after he wasn't seen for a few days. This dolphin is turning heads. Our finned friend was spotted eating garfish, something not previously known to be eaten by dolphins. 

On the 13th of October that year, after almost daily sightings, the well-loved dolphin vanished. Where did he go? Ireland has some pretty strict laws in these waters. Everything seems safe. In 2021, footage shows a bottlenose dolphin interacting with boats in Kinsale, giving many hope that it could be Fungie. According to ORCA Ireland, it is the second sighting of the individual solitary bottlenose dolphin off Kinsale, and they say it could well be Fungie. I hope it is. This guy is a bit of a legend. 

Video from Trevor Reid taken in 2017.

Fungie is a solitary animal. The likes of which are RARELY recorded with cetaceans. He was 78 of the 114 recorded individual bottlenose dolphins to lead to further studies with bottlenose dolphins being the most common type to go "solo". The second most common species to ride alone sometimes were beluga whales according to a report.

Does this give me hope for captive-released animals? No, because chances are that Fungie wouldn't have liked new "strange" dolphins from the Zoo. However, there is a chance that he might have adapted. This is why sanctuary work is so important. You CANNOT just put a captive bred animal back into the wild without MAJOR setbacks. As I said in my previous blogs, it is nearly impossible to reintroduce a captive animal to nature. However, Ric over at Dolphin Project is making it a reality in the right way.


Video from his friends at Fungie Forever on YouTube!

Usually when you see dolphins up close, you would think they would be searching for food. With Fungie, he actually rejects food from the locals! He is so smart. He was born wild and free.

Thanks for reading!


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