Monday, 29 October 2012

Flipper on a mission: Ukraine resuming dolphin combat training

A Soviet program of dolphin military training is reportedly being revived in Ukraine. The unit's tactical objective will be search operations and patrolling the waters near the Russian and Ukrainian Naval base in Sevastopol.
In the Soviet Union, dolphin training started in 1965, while a special naval dolphinarium was initiated in 1973 in Sevastopol, the homeport of the USSR's Black Sea fleet.
Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncates), who naturally inhabit the Black Sea, were chosen as future subversives, set to infiltrate enemy lines, mine warships and counteract military swimmers. For that purpose dolphins were properly armed with knives and underwater pistols fixed on their heads and specially designed baldric for mine carriage.
Later, the center also obtained dolphins of other species, reportedly from the White Sea of the Arctic Ocean and from the Pacific of Russia’s Far East. According to some sources in the Soviet Union, there were specialists training seals, sea lions and even orcas for the same tasks.

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