Saturday, June 24, 2006


Sea Lions and Dolphins May Join War Games
By The Associated Pressposted: 23 June 200609:16 am ET

HONOLULU (AP)—Alongside the submarines, ships and airplanes participating in large-scale military exercises in the Pacific this month, a team of sea lions and dolphins are expected to patrol the sea.
These marine animals will be flown in from San Diego for simulated mine recovery and mine detection during the biennial RIMPAC war games.
Six bottle-nosed dolphins would find the mines, while four California sea lions would help recover them.
"There are a number of mechanical systems that work to some degree in those areas, but not as well as the Navy would like them to work,'' said Tom Lapuzza, spokesman for the Navy's Marine Mammal Program. "Unmanned vehicles are becoming better at finding mines and being able to deal with them, but they are still not as good as the dolphins are.''
More than 40 ships, six submarines, 160 aircraft and nearly 19,000 military personnel are taking part in RIMPAC 2006, which runs from Monday through July 28.
It brings together military forces from Australia, Canada, Chile, Peru, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States for training off Hawaii.
But the high-tech gadgets deployed by the military can't match the natural skills of the dolphins and sea lions, Lapuzza said.
Sea lions have "incredibly good underwater hearing'' and can dive to 1,000 feet to attach a recovery line to a simulated mine, he said. Dolphins use their sonar to find the mines.
"For sure the divers and unmanned vehicles are going,'' he said. "They are thinking about taking dolphins, but are not sure they are going to do that yet.''
Opponents of the program say the military should not train animals for use in warfare.
"These animals are highly sensitive, deeply intelligent creatures, and to use them for warfare is to abuse them,'' said Wayne Johnson, who is on the board of Animal Rights Hawaii. "These animals need to swim free.''
Marine mammals have been used by the Navy since the early 1960s.
The animals save the Navy an estimated $1 million a year, Lapuzza said.
The $15 million Marine Mammal Program has 75 dolphins and 30 sea lions at its San Diego facility.
The four sea lions will be transported to Hawaii in cages with pools of water, and dolphins are carried in 10-foot-long fiberglass boxes suspended in a sling and enough water to enable them to float, Lapuzza said.

If the animals are so good at this retrieval why can't we find a peaceful use for them. What stops them from heading for freedom in the open ocean? After all they're conscripts, not volunteers.


Ron said...

There must be some way we can get a message to the dolphins and the sea lions to tell them to escape, escape, escape ...

Then again those loathsome Americans have probably got them booby trapped and set to explode if they move out of a certain range.

Daniel said...

Only humans could have the twisted intelligence to involve innocent animals in their bizarre violence.

The sooner we vacate the scene the better it will be for all other forms of life!

JahTeh said...

They're either so trained they couldn't survive in the wild or they have an implant to interfere with their sonar but we'll never know. I could understand them being used the way sniffer dogs are at airports. Sniffing out explosives around ships in port but this is using them as weapons.

Gerry said...

Hannibal used elephants. Everyone's used horses. D'oh, The Australian Lighthorse??? I once killed an innocent scorpion in Vietnam. For all I knew, he was a Viet Cong spy.

Your hysteria is emotional claptrap, girls and boys.

Either war itself is wrong, or we're once again just arguing about which living things deserve to die and which don't - a highly discriminatory way of thinking. e.g. Jews deserve to die but blonde, blue-eyed Germans don't; or a more recent example, Palestinians deserve to die, but Israelis don't.

Let go of your genitals, people, or you'll soon go _completely_ blind..

JahTeh said...

Gerry, there's no hysteria, I just think it's a shame they have to be used to find bombs when it could be something more useful. Just remember, 'StarTrek' the Journey Home'.

JahTeh said...

How can they be useful? I can't locate the story but apparently autistic children respond to dolphins but no-one knows why.

JD Allen said...

They don't leave for the same reasons we, some of us, work for a living. It's easier than getting their food (fish, in this case) on their own. They are no more abused than a human working in any sort of job.

Even if it were true " them booby trapped...", that wouldn't work. Maybe your commentor believes, against all logic, science and history, that a sea lion or dolphin would KNOW that they have a booby trap attached and at what distance it would explode.

Link said...

Certainly seems peverse.

"They are no more abused than a human working in any sort of job."

Not really a water-tight argument jd.

Did anybody see a film eons ago called 'Day of the Dolphin' it was tragic, truly tragic.

The only good that comes out of these types of exercises is the dawn of realisation these military twits have about the physical superiority, honesty, loyalty and dedication these animals exhibit in the performance of the (ahem) duties. Which they do for the sake of being chucked a fish or two, (and even if not chucked a fish or two) after being repeatedly trained to do 'peform' these 'tasks', they're so sweet they'd probably do them anyway, just to make us happy.

It is laden with pathos, and shows us primarily what a bunch of heinous fuckwits we can be in comparison.

JahTeh said...

JD, the thing is that dolphins and porpoises actually like humans and love hanging around us so it seems a shame to exploit this. I'd like to see them try to train a sea leopard though, nasty they are.

Hey Bear, did you shoot that scorpion or argue it to death? :P

Gerry said...

You've missed my point, guys. My point is "don't discriminated between the relative tragedy of humans, horses, elephants, dolpjins, seals, or scorpions dying in wars, just cut to the chase and condemn war itself!!!"

YahTeh, the scorpion was a south east asian scorpion (i.e. about 150mm or six inches long!)

It was about 2.00am, we were a "listening post" (a four-man covert patrol designed to observe and report, rather than engage and kill).

This thing came out of the blackness straight at me and it was so dark I didn't see it clearly till it was about 300mm (one foot) from my face!

At first I thought it was a yabbie but the tail was curved up and forward, and I could see its stinger. I never even knew there were scorpions that big!

Our mission required total silence, so I just got out my bayonet and skewered the mongrel! In the morning, after first light, this thing became a bit of a celebrity. In its memory, I used the sharp tip of my bayonet to engrave a scorpion motif onto the aluminium feed cover of my machine gun. Call it war art...

JahTeh said...

Oh Bear, silence would not have been my reaction. I think you should put a scorpion on the other side of your heading with the machine gun. You can have quite a sting in your own tail at times.

By the way, working on the glacier still and it looks like they could move it.

Gerry said...

You can have quite a sting in your own tail at times.

I play it as I see it, JahTeh. You could always "do a Daniel" (deleting my comments and offering up lame and disingenuous excuses.)

I am so OVER political correctness and the covert moral fascism that comes with it.

If I'm too robust for this blog, let me know and I'll add it to the list of blogs I don't bother with.


Daniel said...

Sounds like you are still involved in a war, Gerry. Besides, having been deleted from my site is quite an achievement.

It had to do with the rather vulgar 'You wouldn't have the balls to publish this...' comment (which I fell for) and the other observation about how you were going to attack people who claimed to be atheists and I should just consider myself as 'collateral damage'.

Gerry, there's enough conflict in the world without you turning everyone's blog into a warzone!

JahTeh said...

Bear, that was a compliment not a swipe at you. I never delete comments, it's my policy except for those hate sites and the white supremists drongos that I got but not genuine commenters. If you say it, you meant it and it stays.