LOUISE MURRAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LOUISE MURRAY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
US Navy California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) with animal trainer (top left). This animal has been trained by the Navy Marine Mammal Program (NMMP), San Diego, USA. It is carrying a transponder on its back to allow its handlers to locate it in open water. Tasks include detecting suspicious objects, delivering equipment to divers, locating lost objects, surveillance using an attached camera and guarding against intruders. Sea lions are intelligent and proficient swimmers, able to dive to 300 metres or more. Sea lion pups are selected from marine parks and trained by rewarding successful tasks with food. The US Navy also trains dolphins, killer whales and beluga whales.
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