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Kelly the Dolphin: armed and dangerous?

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September 26, 2005

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September 27, 2005 The Guardian Unlimited ran a story on September 25 about armed dolphins having escaped from US Naval facilities during Hurricane Katrina. The article explains the dolphins have been trained to shoot toxic darts at terrorists and spies using a specially designed harness and could prove extremely dangerous to surfers, divers and windsurfers should they be mistaken for terrorists by the dolphins. It went on to state, “The US Navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.” It’s a great yarn and it really got us going, until we checked with the US Navy’s press office and found the following press release had been issued on September 17, eight days prior to the Guardian's article. It reads, “Kelly the dolphin is placed in a temporary saltwater pool in a facility at Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport. Kelly has spent the last two and a half weeks in the Gulf of Mexico with four other dolphins who escaped when Hurricane Katrina destroyed their home at the Marine Life Oceanarium in Gulfport.” The press release continues ...

“The aboveground pool, along with other necessary filtration equipment needed to care for sea mammals, was provided by U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program personnel from San Diego, Calif. Department of Defense units are mobilized as part of Joint Task Force Katrina to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency's disaster-relief efforts in the Gulf Coast areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina.”

The photo is the work of Petty Officer 3rd Class Chris Gethings, U.S. Navy.

And we suspect that surfers and divers and other aquatic users are probably safe to go back in the water now.

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About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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