The U.S. Navy has been using marine mammals like dolphins and sea lions since the 1960’s, though it was classified until the early 1990’s. The U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program (NMMP) served in Vietnam and played a key role in 2003 for the Iraq invasion when dolphins and sea lions tagged hidden mines in the Persian Gulf. The dolphins are even trained to disarm mines themselves, but have never had to do so with live ordnance.
Marine mammals such as bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions are trained by the Navy to find lost equipment, detect underwater mines, and identify swimmers in restricted areas. Not only are they fast, but their echolocation is unmatched by technology and machines.
It started in 1960 when the Navy acquired a dolphin named “Notty” in hopes of learning how to create less drag on torpedoes and submarines. They abandoned the biomechanic study when they noticed how smart and trainable they were. It didn’t take long before they discovered their amazing sonar and how useful that could be for military operations.
One thing that is certain, is the marine mammals in the Navy help save human lives and have served our country. Now, they are helping us again -- but this time to save their distant relatives in an interspecies rescue mission. Watch the video to see how they are helping save an entire species from extinction.