RUSSIA: Russia has deployed an army of dolphins to protect its naval base in the Black Sea. According to the US Naval Institute (USNI), two floating dolphin pens have been placed at the entrance of the Sevastopol harbour, Russia’s most significant naval based in the Black Sea.
The USNI report is based on satellite images of the Russian naval base. It said that dolphins were moved there in February, just before the start of the Ukraine war.
According to Newsweek, dolphins have been selected to protect the naval base because they possess natural sonar, which they use while navigating through the ocean. Called echolocation, dolphins’ natural ability is so precise that it can determine the difference between a golf ball and a ping-pong ball based solely on density. The ships that are anchored at the Russian naval base are out of range from the Ukrainian missiles, but could face an underwater attack. The dolphins have been stationed there to prevent such a thing from happening, the Newsweek report said.
The marine mammals have likely been trained to guard the ships, and carry out “counter-diver operations,” the report said, quoting USNI.
Yes, according to Newsweek. It said that American navy has been doing that since 1959.
Under its Marine Mammal programme, the US navy tested several animals, including dolphins, rays, sharks, turtles and sea birds. Eventually, the Navy settled on two species for the job: dolphins and the California sea lion.
The US too uses dolphins for the same purpose as Russia – to detect mines and other threatening objects around coastal areas.
Sevastopol is the Russian Navy’s most significant naval base in the Black Sea. Many high-value ships are docked there since the Soviet era. Since the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Sevastopol has proven crucial in supporting Russia’s operations in Syria.