Leading article: Animal magic

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The Independent Online

Step up, please, and marvel at the ingenuity of humanity in signing up other members of the animal kingdom to do the jobs that our frail forms are ill-suited to do.

As we report today, airport authorities are planning to introduce squadrons of sniffer bees to detect explosives. Fortunately, as the bees remain enclosed in a shoebox-sized container, there is little immediate risk to phobic passengers. But there is always a danger that Mother Nature will reassert herself.

When the US Navy trained dolphins to shoot terrorists (do not apply here for the details; the US authorities refused to disclose them), Mother N intervened in the form of Hurricane Katrina, which swept their cages out into the Gulf of Mexico. Several of them reportedly escaped into the open sea, with dart-guns possibly still strapped to them (but that is classified information).

We mention this only because the sniffer-bee flying squads are eventually released after a few weeks' service. What if the killer dolphins should ever join forces with the bomb-finder bees?

And you thought the idea that cats were plotting to take over the world was simply a fanciful Hollywood caper...