NAVY seals awol

well, actually, it's the Navy Dolphin, not the Seals (or the Sea Lions). But Takoma the dolphin has not returned to his post in 48 hours :

Takoma�s role was to sweep the way clear for the arrival of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, Sir Galahad. US officials had said that dolphins, first used in Vietnam, were a far better bet than all the technology on board the flotilla of ships.

Petty Officer Whitaker had tempted fate by saying: �Why would they go missing when they have the best food and daily spruce-ups and health checks?� Two hours later Takoma had gone Awol. �Twenty-four hours is not unusual,� a nervous Petty Officer Whitaker said. �After all, he may meet some local company.�

Takoma has now been missing for 48 hours and the solitary figure of Petty Officer Whitaker could be seen yesterday patting the water, calling his name and offering his favourite fish, but there was no response.

I hope Takoma is ok - I'm firmly in the pro-use dolphins camp - the Naval Marine Mamals program is simply fascinating. There was a great program on NPR this morning with a great deal more information about the use of dolphins and sea lions by the military, and it was clear from listening to the navy officials that there is a great deal of love and respect for these animals. I've a great fascination with marine mammals myself, and I think that anyone working with them on a daily basis would never be able to exploit them or put them in harm's way.

UPDATE: of course, photoshopping them is fair game.

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