Belfast Telegraph

Strabane mourning Flipper the dolphin

By Donna Deeney

A dolphin nicknamed 'Flipper' that enthralled Strabane has died.

Hundreds of people flocked to watch Flipper as it rose for air in the River Foyle, where it took up residence last Sunday.

The news that Flipper had died was met with sadness among the town's people, among them Danny Hunter, the fisherman who first spotted it.

He said: “The kids were tearful, in fact a fair number of adults were a bit tearful, too, when they found out that Flipper is no more.

“There was a terrific buzz around the town as people gathered along the riverbank to watch him and there was a great and immediate affection for him.

“He was very energetic to begin with and there was a good supply of salmon for him so I am not sure what happened but it’s a pity he couldn't have been helped to get back out to the lough.”

A spokeswoman for the Loughs Agency said: “It is actually more common than people might realise for dolphins or porpoises to come this far inland. Mostly they come in to feed.

“They can also come in because they have become disoriented, which happens when they are close to death, which might have been the case with this one.”

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