Charting interactions between dolphins and people
Irish Dolphins - Interactions between dolphins and people.  Including Fungie the Dingle Dolphin
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Duggie - History & first interactions

First sightings date from April 2006 and it seems that by May 2006 these had become regular. Rumours reached us at the end of that summer but the first news we saw in the national press was an article in the Irish Independent in August 2007, characteristically entitled "Grieving Duggie learns to love once more with Ben, the seafaring doggie". The standard mythology in the Irish press when a new interactive dolphin turns up is that it has "lost its mate" (or sometimes its mother..), in defiance of all known facts of dolphin social biology! So the reports in the papers that a dead dolphin was washed up on the island at the same time as 'Duggie' appeared cannot be taken at face value and in any case no causal link can be made between the two events.
As the dolphin has always shown a great interest in following the island ferry boats, it is more likely that this is how he came to the island in the first place. Bottlenose dolphins are not infrequently sighted in the area.

Apart from his interest in boats, the first clue to Duggie's interest in non-dolphin company was given by a labrador dog, Ben, belonging to the local hotelier Pat Doohan. Ben jumps in the water whenever Duggie is there and the two of them swim around each other for long periods. (Many dogs are attracted to dolphins and like to try and swim with them in what often looks like a futile attempt to chase them!).

We don't know exactly who were the first people to swim with the dolphin but we think it was young people from the island. Even after nearly two years' residence, very few people have made the pilgrimage to Tory especially to see Duggie (we know of one party of divers who came down from Dublin, but maybe they would have come anyway even without a dolphin). It is mostly a case of visitors who have wet-suits for other reasons (surfers for example) hopping in the water when he is there, or others without on an unusually hot day. One couldn't really say there are any regular 'Duggie swimmers', although Ute Margreff made three separate trips to swim with him between the end of July and September 2007.

Duggie was nicknamed after a well known island dancer, Willie Duggan.
Date Posted: 11/03/2008
Date Edited: 17/03/2008

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