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  Animals helping in the war
Updated 26 March 2003, 16.16
The US Navy have dolphins helping them out
As well as all the soldiers who are fighting out in Iraq, believe it or not, animals play a big part in helping the troops.

Here's exactly what their jobs are:

Dolphins are searching for mines at the bottom of the sea
Dolphins are searching for mines at the bottom of the sea

Dolphins: A team of specially trained dolphins are being used in Iraq to hunt down mines in the sea.

They've been taught by the US Navy to help divers hunt down Iraqi mines.

Their mission is very important because the mines have to be moved to allow ships carrying vital aid through to Iraq.

They use their natural sonar to find the mines, but they are very clever and know to stay away from them when they see them.

Once they spot one they drop a floating marker which tells the divers where the explosives are.

This means the dolphins stay out of danger too.

According to the US Navy, they only real danger they face is other dolphins who might not like new faces in the water.

Sea lions are protecting the ships
Sea lions are protecting the ships

Sea Lions: The US Navy also has a fleet of Sea Lions that they use to protect ships and ports.

The seals patrol the water looking for enemy divers.

They put tags on the divers or even 'restraint devices' that will stop them getting away!

Sea Lions are chosen and trained because they can hear and see really well under water, and can make lots of deep dives.

They were used to protect HMS Ark Royal a few weeks ago - you can read about this in Matthew's first diary.

Dogs help out by looking for bombs and weapons
Dogs help out by looking for bombs and weapons

Dogs: There are lots of different dogs out in the Gulf helping the British and American soldiers.

The majority are protection dogs, or guard dogs. Breeds like German Shepherds and Belgium Shepherds are used for this.

They are used to assist the soldiers in guarding the British military. They will also be used to guard any Iraqi prisoners of war, although they are mainly there for the protection of British servicemen.

There are also Labradors, Golden Retrievers and Springer Spaniels.

These look for weapons and explosives and search buildings and vehicles.

They'll also be used to support troops as they go into built up areas. Troops will take them to find weapons are hidden.

All the dogs helping the British Army are trained at a special centre in the UK.

Pigeons are also helping the soldiers out
Pigeons are also helping the soldiers out

Pigeons: United States troops based in Kuwait have been given a flock of pigeons to help against possible chemical attacks.

They will warn soldiers of the presence of nerve and chemical agents.

The pigeons will travel around in tanks with special handlers.

If one of the birds dies suddenly, this could indicate a chemical attack and would give the marines time to put their gas masks on.

The pigeons are being looked after well. They are being given mineral water and special pigeon qualified people have been chosen to look after them.

In the First and Second World Wars, pigeons carried messages across enemy lines, some were even awarded medals.

The pigeons that are helping in this war will be released once the war is over.

More InfoBORDER=0
Find OutFull Iraq war special section
ChatChat about animals


Past StoriesBORDER=0
Buster the dog is a war hero
Navy dolphins prepare for first mission
US Navy send sea lions out to the Gulf
Animals of war honoured by memorial



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