Terror-Fighting Dolphins and Sea Lions

They patrol for underwater swimmers (with video).

Posted on April 16, 2007 at 12:12 PM • 18 Comments

Comments

GoatriderApril 16, 2007 1:02 PM

Well, if it's too cold for dolphins, and they're worried they might transmit diseases to orca, then perhaps they should be training orca for the job?

On the other hand, it would be too much to expect orca and seals to work together, since orcas eat seals!

HarryApril 16, 2007 1:37 PM

@Moxie - very funny, particularly #2. Is it illegal to be in the water in the marina?

TursiopsApril 16, 2007 1:50 PM

I like:

"Biologically, they are better than anything we have ever made ..."

But some of my best friends are Navy-made biologicals!

RichApril 16, 2007 3:40 PM

So Bruce, when do we get to hear about BT Counterpane's TRUE research- Terror Fighting Squid?

Filias CupioApril 16, 2007 6:34 PM

I'm going off topic here:

'Asked why the campus at Virginia Tech university, which has more than 26,000 students, was not shut down after the first shooting, campus police chief Wendell Flinchum responded that police received information that "it was an isolated event to that building and the decision was made not to cancel classes at that time".'
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?...

This looks like a very reasonable security decision to me (given my very limited information), but I expect the police to cop a lot of flack for it from people with 20/20 hindsight.

Do other people here think they made the right call? Will we see a lot of unreasonable CYA business/school evacuations in future in response to this?

Cooper StrangeApril 16, 2007 8:16 PM

In the article, the head of science for the Navy's marine mammal program said, "Biologically, they are better than anything we have ever made". Um, a Navy submarine is not biologic. Just stick with "their sonor is better..." or just plain ol', "they are better at detecting...". This makes me think of Seaquest DSV, the TV show from the early 90s with the "living" sub!

And why exactly do they mention the Rainbow Warrior incident in New Zealand? Sure, we already know highly trained special ops can plant bombs underwater. But maybe if France had used dolphins instead, they would not have gotten caught! That is the real point.

And "never trained to attack" my foot! I remember watching undercover footage back in the 1990s of Navy dolphins being armed on their wee snouts to hunt down enemy divers. It reported that the dolphins could not take the strain of killing and would go into depression. So, little fishies are ok, but they draw the line with humans, I guess.

RichApril 17, 2007 9:46 AM

@Cooper Strange

I saw a nature documentary once in which a pair of Orcas teamed up to catch several sea lions, after after eating all but one, pushed the last one alive and well back to shore. According to the narrator (who I guess peaks fluent Orcan) they were full and didn't need it.

Jack C LiptonApril 17, 2007 3:17 PM

the following remarks caught my eye:

[quote]
In response to questions about whether the animalshave been trained to attack, officials said no.

"We have never trained any Navy marine mammals to do any harming, attacking or stabbing," Navy spokesman Tom LaPuzza said. "We have never done anything like that, and we never will."
[/quote]

Now, realize, I've got a fairly eclectic background.

Anyone here remember John C Lilly's work w/ human-dolphin communication? And does anyone here remember a story about one of Carl Sagan's... ahem... interactions with a dolphin?

Heck, does anyone here recall the stories of an affectionate dolphin who... ahem... "liked" human swimmers somewhere by either France or the UK?

So... one wonders... perhaps these dolphins may not... ahem... "attack", as such, but, perhaps, they may choose to... well... violate the violators...

kiwanoApril 17, 2007 10:31 PM

@Rich

Terror Fighting Squid? Come on, let's be serious here. Bruce work focuses far more often on demonstrating the ridiculousness of US govt. anti-terror activities than it does in trying to match them. Clearly he's training his cadre of giant squid to follow around the video-equipped dolphins, and repeatedly shroud them in ink clouds.

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