The Navy's marine mammal program primarily trains dolphins and sea lions in operational programs for swimmer defense and to detect underwater mines and other ordnance.
The National Zoo’s senior male gray seal, Gunnar, died June 22. He was 38 years old. Typically, male gray seals in human care live no longer than 30 years; female zoo seals can live close to 40 years. Gunnar was drafted by the Navy in 1973 for the marine mammal program, which trains dolphins, seals and sea lions in operational programs for swimmer defense and to detect underwater mines and other ordnance. He lived out his retirement at the National Zoo.Mehgan Murphy/Smithsonian Institution
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