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Can they train Manatees for this Duty???

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Old 03-25-2003, 01:58 PM
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Default Can they train Manatees for this Duty???

UMM QASR, Iraq (March 25) - Forget precision bombs, unmanned spy-planes and high-tech weaponry, the U.S. army is about to unveil its most unlikely mine detector -- all the way from Florida, the Atlantic Bottle-Nosed Dolphin.

At the southern Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, secured by U.S. and British forces after days of fighting, soldiers made last-minute preparations on Tuesday for the imminent arrival of a team of specially trained dolphins to help divers ensure the coastline is free of danger before humanitarian aid shipments can dock.

U.S. Navy Captain Mike Tillotson told reporters that three or four dolphins would work from Umm Qasr, using their natural sonar abilities to seek out mines or other explosive devices which Iraqi forces may have planted on the seabed.

"They were flown over on a military animal transporter in fleece-lined slings," Tillotson said. "We keep them in a certain amount of water. They travel very well."

"They will be given restaurant quality food and vitamins, and they will work out of wells which we've set up here."

Tillotson said the dolphins were trained not to swim up to mines, but to place a marker a small distance away, minimizing any danger to themselves.

Several mines were discovered last week on the back of ships along the Faw peninsula, but teams of divers searching around Umm Qasr port since Monday have not found any embedded mines.
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Old 03-25-2003, 03:48 PM
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Here's a pic and the storie.


K-DOG the minehunter
By Harriet Arkell, Evening Standard

This is K-Dog, the coalition forces' most surprising weapon against Iraq.

With a camera strapped to his fin, the bottle-nose dolphin is one of about 100 dolphins and sea lions helping to clear shipping lanes in the Gulf to ensure a safe passage for vessels, including those which will provide humanitarian relief.

K-Dog and his handler Sgt Andrew Garrett are part of a multinational team, CTU-55.4.3, consisting of Naval Special Clearance Team One, Britain's Fleet Diving Unit Three, Australia's Clearance Dive Team, and two Explosive Ordnance Disposal units.

A Pentagon spokesman said: "The team works in both deep and shallow waters, looking for mines and marking them. Dolphins have been used like this by the US Navy for more than 30 years, and have proved themselves more reliable than robots."

He said that unlike robots, the dolphins did not run out of power, nor did they go missing or have problems communicating from the sea bed.
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Old 03-25-2003, 05:18 PM
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Dolphins are our favorite Marine Mammals! There was a pod of them in the canal the other morning, schooling fish for breakfast, it was just AMAZING to watch them!! Manatees are almost as smart as Dolphins, just not as agile!
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