- 36 year(s)
- Ireland (Dingle)
According to a 2019 report reviewing the world’s documented lone whales and dolphins published by cetacean charity Marine Connection, a male Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncates) called Fungie is the longest-lived solitary dolphin. He was first sighted off the coast of Dingle in County Kerry, Ireland, in 1983, and subsequently has become a much-loved symbol of the region among both locals and tourists. Fungie, who is still living off Dingle as of September 2019, is estimated to be at least 40 years old.
Another Atlantic bottlenose dolphin named JoJo, who resides in the waters off Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos islands in the Caribbean, has also been leading a solitary lifestyle since the 1980s; however, precise dates when JoJo arrived and settled there are debated. Some reports put it as early as 1980. US wildlife advocate Dean Bernal, who is now JoJo’s official guardian, first met him on a visit in 1984, so this date is verified.
The report revealed that bottlenose dolphins are by far the most likely cetaceans to “go solo”, representing 78 of the 114 recorded individuals. The second most common species were beluga whales (Delphinaapterus leucas; 15) and common dolphins (Delphinus; 7).
This was the second edition of the Lone Rangers report; the first was published in 2008.
Photo credit: Graham Timmins