Photos of the Day: Russia's new dolphin army
The Soviet Union established a dolphin training program back in the ‘60s with the goal of using the marine mammals to detect mines and other items of military interest off the coast. The dolphins were based in the Crimean city of Sevastopol, but after Russia annexed Crimea, the cetacean mammals became the property of the USSR, er, Russia. In this photo, United States Navy marine mammal handler Electronic Technician 2nd Class Eric Kenas shows how a trained dolphin reacts to different hand gestures, during Lead Shield III/Roguex V, an exercise to test port facility anti-terrorism readiness. (Yes, we had our own dolphin military program.)
Ukraine was actually preparing to shut down the program, and the dolphins were allegedly equipped with outdated equipment, but Russian intervention (and an invasion) allowed the marine mammals to continue to “serve”.
This pic shows a dolphin model wearing some of the equipment in a military museum.
And in case you were wondering, this is not a late April Fool's joke.