When a human finally arrived during lockdown, the dolphin began to jump for joy.

The world’s most famous solitary dolphin, Fungie, has leaped out of the water with excitement since returning to human contact after a period of isolation during lockdown.

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Jimmy Flannery, who runs Dingle Sea Safari, has revealed that he received authorization to control the bureau of the country’s favorite dolphins from the Minister for the Navy, Michael Creed.

The president of Dingle Dolphin Tours in Kerry revealed that he had been concerned about the loss of human interaction during the lockdown.

He said: “We received confirmation from the Minister’s office that he was cleared to come down and ‘visit Fungie. It comes under Liʋestock.

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“I just wanted to make sure he was okay. I was worried. I think he cringes at the company, otherwise why would he still be here?

“Michael Healy-Rae spoke to the Minister (Creed) and between them they realized that it was part of my well-being and his and that he needed to be looked after.

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“He is absolutely fantastic. He is just as good and fit as before. We’ve gone down five or six times since we got clearance and definitely half that time he’s jumped clean out of the water enjoying each other’s company.

“I went out on a little float and he almost jumped in the float with you. You’ll also be happy to see other people when this is all over.

“He’s got to be close to 50. He’s an amazing creature and more active than ever.”

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Since his arrival in Dingle almost 37 years ago, the now middle-aged bottlenose dolphin has become a national institution.

It was officially categorized as the longest-lived solitary dolphin on the planet in a study published last year.

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The operator of Dingle Sea Safaris said there is no doubt that the animal has disappeared from the human company.

He said: “He has never been without company for so long. There are plenty of other people who come down to see Fungie even throughout the winter.

“They haven’t been coming out to see him. They are not as close as me, within 2 km.”

He said it’s amazing that the wild dolphin has been around for more than three decades.

“I have been doing this for 33 years.

“The experts have always told us to keep doing what we are doing because apparently he enjoys it and if he didn’t he would leave.

“He is still a totally wild animal that feeds itself. There is no reason for Fungie to do what he does, just that he wants to do it.”

He said that he has noticed that the dolphin is even louder than usual.

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It’s coming very fast. Before we got to the Skellig Hotel, which is right after leaving the port, Fungie was already flying towards us.

“It’s like he’s looking forward to watching the smaller float go down and frolic because I guess he has no other company.

“What is so special about Fungie is the time that he stays here and has never left.

“He is at home where he is and I can see from the exit.”

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