US Navy sea lion training underwater

US Navy sea lion training underwater

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This image is part of the feature Navy Mammals

Credit: US NAVY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: US Navy sea lion (Zalophus californianus), training underwater. This animal has been trained by the Navy Marine Mammal Program (NMMP), San Diego, USA, to locate objects underwater. The sea lion carries a tethered bite-plate in its mouth. It is trained to locate objects which emit a low frequency 'ping' (such as underwater mines) and hook the bite plate onto the object. Once secured, navy crew in a boat are able to pull the object out of the water. The sea lion carries a backpack transponder to enable the animal's movements to be tracked. The US Navy also trains dolphins, killer whales and beluga whales for a variety of underwater tasks that are easier for animals to perform than human divers.

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