Russia may be using trained dolphins to protect its Black Sea naval fleet from attack, according to an analysis of satellite images.
The images provided by Maxar Technologies appear to show two floating dolphin pens at the entrance to Sevastopol harbor in Crimea, which were reportedly moved there in mid-February, around the time of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The supposed pens are similar in appearance to reported dolphin enclosures used at Russia’s naval base in Tartus, Syria, submarine expert H I Sutton said in a report for the United States Naval Institute news service on Wednesday.
Sutton’s analysis suggests that Russian ships in Sevastopol are out of range of Ukrainian missiles, but may be susceptible to sabotage from divers.
The aquatic mammal’s high intelligence has made it a suitable subjects for training by various countries’ military forces in the past.
Dolphins and sea lions have been trained by the US Navy since 1959, according to the Naval Information Warfare Center.
The cetaceans’ powerful sonar systems are capable of detecting underwater mines and other potentially dangerous objects.
They are also much better suited to diving in deep water than humans are, as they do not need to decompress.
A BBC report from 2000 said that Soviet-trained dolphins that were based in Sevastopol had been sold to Iran.
Trainer Boris Zhurid told Russian Komsomolskaya Pravda at the time that he had sold the sea creatures as he could not afford to feed them.
Four dolphins and a white whale were trained by Zhurid to attack enemy divers with harpoons attached to their backs, or drag them to the surface to be captured.
They could also reportedly launch kamikaze attacks against enemy ships, and are said to be able to distinguish them friendly ships by the sound of their propellers.
Authorities in Saudi Arabia rescue beached dolphins, seven deadMore than 40 dolphins beached in northwest Saudi Arabia due to heavy winds and ... Gulf
Dolphins lead rescue crew to swimmer missing for 12 hours: ReportA rescue crew was able to find a swimmer who was missing for 12 hours off the ... World News
Zoo bans woman from visiting chimpanzee after having ‘affair’A woman has been banned from visiting the chimpanzee enclosure of a zoo in Belgium ... Variety