Imagine building your local economy around an animal and then being surprised when they eventually die?
Though I find the reports of "Locals worried that Fungie may not return" funny in a weird way, that phrasing makes it sound like he's gone to his space palace and has left earth for good, as opposed to being dead. "Fungie's gone to the farm, he's happy there. No further questions."
Fungie, or the 14th Dolphin, lies not awake or asleep, and will return at the hour of tribulation to judge the living and the dead?