Atlantic Bottle-Nosed Dolphins have arrived in Iraq from San Diego to act as mine detectors. They arrived at the southern Iraqi port of Umm Qasr, which has been secured by U.S and British forces. They will help make sure the coastline is free from mines before humanitarian aid shipments dock there. This isn’t a suicide mission?the dolphins have been trained not to swim up to the mines, but to place a marker a short distance away, so they won’t get blown up.
U.S. Navy Captain Mike Tillotson says, “They were flown over on a military animal transporter in fleece-lined slings,” he says. “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.”