Sea Lions and Dolphins trained for war

 by Martin Belam, 31 January 2003

It it just before 2am in the UK and BBC News 24 is rebroadcasting U.S. ABC News. The last news item is how sea lions trained by the US Navy are better than dolphins trained by the US Navy because dolphins get drowsy in the Persian Gulf heat, and the sea lions can pursue their enemy prey on foot/flipper. Is this really happening?


There are BBC News stories about this from March 27th: Dolphins clear mines the natural way and March 11th: Let slip the sea lions of war

And some other coverage at, the CBBC version and the Ananova version. And it isn't new, it was apparently happening throughout the cold war, according to But groups like PETA rightly would like to see it stop.

And today [25th March] this picture of one of the dolphins in action in the gulf apparently came through the news wires

a picture of a trained military dolphin and 'handler' from the gulf, 2003

This post has proved very popular with search engines and quality comments - I've written about how I became the worlds #1 resource on combat-trained sea mammals


the dolphin project is soooo cool. i i'm glad dolphins can help, but i don't want them to get hurt!!!

I think it is soo wonderful that the dolphins can help, but i hope that they are taken care of and treated well. They are the most beautiful animals. I just hope that they dont get hurt!!!

I am happy that the us can use an animal to protect us. I LOVE DOLPHINS

I think it's cool to that the dolphins can help. I just don't want them getting hurt. How many years does it take to train a dolphin for military service.

Samantha (age 6)

Why did you put the camera on the fin?Why don't you put the camera on the head?

I love dolphins and sea lions!!! I don't want them to get hurt but I think what theyr'e doing is really cool. What is the chance of one of then getting hurt? How many people have the sea lions caught setting a mine?

You people are really sick. This commentary shows not only your hatred for humanity but your distain for animals, who know no nationality, but make the huge mistake of loving us, certainely to their detriment.

That is really dumb what you guys are doing to these animals they dont have any part of this so they shouldnt be involved.Its our war not theirs they shouldnt have to deal with it.We just need more men to go seek it out for them selves instead of having innocent animals do it. I love dolphins and sea lions and i dont want them to get hurt but i know that so many of them , are not only gettiing hurt but also being killed by something as stupid like this.

Heck yeah sea lions are my dogs!!! Don't mess with sea lions either cuz they'll bust ya ass!

i love dolphins i think it's great there helping out they are very intelligent!!

It's bad enough that there is a war WITHOUT our precious Dolphins and sealions having to fight too.

It breaks my heart and i would trade places with the dolphins and sealions in a heartbeat if it ment they could be safe as i would gladly give my life to save theirs............

i think its a smart idea to send out dolphins and sealions to do somthing that humans have no idea how to do without heavy equiptment and blowing themselves i think its a great idea. ashley**age 14

Just because they are not "humans" does not mean they are expendible. Military troops sign up voluntarily for serving their country. These mammals on the other hand, are violently removed from their natural environments, endure being "hostages" as they are manipulated into performing unnatural acts of behaviour, and instead of living to their normal life expectancies of close to 30 years, their lifespans are shortened to only 7 or 8 yrs old. We do not force our children to work in dangerous conditions and neither should we do this to any other mammal, regardless of it's natural instincts and intelligence levels.

Totally bitchin' bro! what a joke!

I have no problem protecting animals. God created the earth and everything on it. I do however have a problem with anyone who is not willing to sarafise an animals life to save hundreds of human lifes. Life is a presous thing any lifes saved is a good thing. So, go dolphins and thank s for saving the lifes of many.

I think that the argument is tottaly natural. I think it is like tubular. I totaly agree

Most of the people that are fighting in this war CHOSE to do so the dolphins and sealions DID NOT!!!!!!!!!!!! they are as, if not more intellegent than us but unfortunatly cannot tell people NO!!!!!!!
we dont want to do this!!!!!!!!!

After all no one kills the human soliders if they dont do thier job properly do they? thats something the sealions and dolphins have to face if they dont do their mission properly....

i understand everybody's opinion against the dolphins and sea lions looking for mines,
i also, like many others LOVE dolphins, and yes it is dangerous, and no they didn't have
the choice to go out there, but, what their doing can help the united states by finding mines for us, something that our soldiers aren't neccessarily good at because their not trained as well as the dolphins and the sea lions are, so why shouldn't they help us? they're doing some great, finally being able to use they're intelligence and not only that but, being recognized for it! and it is dangerous, and i like many other don't want them to get hurt doing this, but i fully support what they are doing and am glad that people who aren't aware of dolphin's intelligence are finally being able to see what they can do!!! and to some other peoples statements this is not stupid at all, nor does it show hatred?? if anything it shows that people are grateful for what their doing!! go dolphins, and sea lions!!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU!

Sealions and Dolphins at War

When they retire from the military do they get any veterans a free pial of sardines or squid?

maybe astroturf do beach on instead of hard rocks!

The people chose to the animals did not!
Do not make them fight!

I think that this project with the dolphins is really stupid because they could get hurt and I think that should be known as animal cruelty.

Using dolphins for navy work is one of the best ideas! I understand that they don't choose to fight in the war or not, but they go and do a pretty dang good job so they must not be totally unwilling. Thanks to the Navy for making a great move despite the objections of some animal rights activists! And to the dolphins; go out and kick some enemy butt!

i think its alright and is cool i think its alright because its helping out our millitary

I think that it is great how they can use dolphins, sealions, and orca for war purpose. However I don't think bringing harm to them is great because the soviet military uses them to BLOW UP subs which results in the death of the dolphin. That is sad a wrong. On the other hand the U.S. is using them for good purposes and doesn't mean to bring harm to them in any way. Nor, do they want to bring harm to any other animal they use in the military.

Excuse my historical accuracy but I don't think you'll find 'the soviet military' have done very much with animals, or anything else, since the collapse of the USSR. Unless you are living in some sort of Fox News pre-1989 "evil empire still exists" time warp.

Straight away reminds me of the latest report from about misperceptions of war generated by the 'news'

I do not want the military sending our dolphins out to fighit when it is not thier problem

i don't like it that they use dolphins to look out for other people coming. they could get really heart.

I don't think that dolphins should be put in a dangerous position as such,They are tooooo beautiful,they bring beauty to this country.

Why are all ya'll so repetetive? Ya'll ask the same questions one right after the other? I am glad the Navy has realized that the best things come from animals. I don't mean just food. We get friendship from dogs and cats. They also teach us responsibility. In return for their services we give them food and shelter. The dolphins, however, think it's a game. They don't understand that they could die doing this. And isn't that the big issue with all of the animal support groups? Let me ask you this *directed to animal support groups* when have you ever asked a dolphin how it felt? How can you be sure that they don't understand? Do you talk to dolphins? So you have some kind of psycic connection? No, i didn't think so. If they are cooporating, then they are doing somthing for the good of the people. Would you rather yourselves volunteer to go down to the dark depths of the ocean to mark land mines and risk your head being blown up? Would you rather your family? The dolphins may not understand that they could die out there, but what other choice do we have if the other people in this world are either uncappable of doing such jobs as efficiently or are cowards? Yes, I do also love dolphins and think they are beautiful, but I also have my priorities straight. I ask you now do you have your priorities straight?

i think it is really neat that people can train a wild animal to sniff for bombs. that shows that god is an amazing god and anything is possible in him.

"that shows that god is an amazing god"

Hmmm, or possibly it shows that god doesn't care if *his* people are blowing *his* animals to smithereens in *his* name...?

you are doing a very stupid thing! Why dont you leave the dolphins alone?why dont you get the bomb by yourself?

lol, banana militarians )

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