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Russia seizes Ukraine’s dolphin army

The world better watch out. The Russian navy recently seized control of Ukraine’s combat dolphins.

According to an employee connected with the Crimea-based program, the Russians will oversee the entire dolphin army from now on.

Look at these cold-blooded killers. Credit: Medioimages/Photodisc/Getty Images

Look at these cold-blooded killers. Credit: Medioimages/Photodisc/Getty Images

The combat dolphins are trained to patrol open water and attack anything that poses a military threat, including mines or even villainous SCUBA divers. The animals’ sensitivity underwater gives them an edge over man-made sonar devices when it comes to this kind of dirty work.

The Soviets started the killer-dolphin program in the 1960s but handed the animals over to Ukraine after the USSR fell apart. Before Russia took control of the marine army, Ukraine mainly kept the dolphins for civilian purposes due to lack of funding.

That might change under the Russian navy, which reportedly hopes to continue developing the military side of the program, including new wearable sonar technology.

There’s only one other country aside from the Soviet Union to have had a confirmed military dolphin program, and that’s the United States. Our San Diego–based dolphin army, which also enlisted sea lions, focused primarily on identifying sea mines.


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