Russia reportedly recruits trained dolphins to protect its navy in the Ukraine war

The dolphins are able to detect mines better and faster than any machine out there.
Mert Erdemir
Navy marine shows how a trained dolphin reacts to different hand gestures. Pierre G. Georges/Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever heard of military-trained dolphins? Actually, the use of sea mammals for military purposes is nothing new. Countries such as the U.S., Israel, and the former Soviet Union have been exploring the potential and limits of marine mammals like dolphins, whales, sea lions, and seals in the military for years.

Back in 2016, Russia's military was reported to be looking for five bottlenose dolphins with good qualities to train them for military purposes, according to The Washington Post.

Following this, in 2017, Russia's state television reported that the country was experimenting with beluga whales, seals, and bottlenose dolphins to guard the entrances to naval bases.

And now, Russia seems to be done with experimenting since it deployed dolphins at the entrance of Sevastopol harbor for its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, USNI News reported. 

New satellite images revealed two transportable dolphin pens placed at the entrance of Sevastopol harbor, which holds a crucial geopolitical significance with its proximity to the southern tip of the Crimean Peninsula. Russia seems to shift its focus on seizing the complete control of the eastern and southern territories of Ukraine. Thus, it aims to form a land bridge to Crimea, which Russia took back in 2014.

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What do military dolphins do?

In the most basic sense, the function of these mammals is to detect the threats and targets at depth and under murky water. While even today's technology is still struggling with these obstacles, mammals' ability appears as something crucial to utilize for military purposes. 

The U.S. Navy, for example, trains its marine mammals both to find equipment lost at sea and to detect intruders entering the restricted areas. 

Bottlenose dolphins are known for their ability to detect mines better and faster than any machine out there. In addition to that, dolphins' finely-tuned sonars make them very useful in close-to-shore areas since mechanical systems can be overwhelmed by the excessive noise generated by crashing surf and ship traffic.

In the current case, Russia can use dolphins to detect any underwater threats, such as divers, by Ukraine. They can also be helpful to detect the mines that cause concern by drifting in the Black Sea.

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