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Combat Dolphins

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News:

UK says Russia is training combat dolphins in Crimea to counter Ukraine.

What:

  • It refers to the use of the marine mammals for military tasks.

How:

  • Cetaceans like bottle-nosed dolphins and Beluga whales are highly intelligent and can be trained to perform military undertakings such as:
    • Detection of submarines, mines, suspicious objects or individuals
    • Carry out surveillance using equipment attached to the animals by harnesses
    • Even planting explosives on enemy devices
  • An example is ‘Hvaldimir’, a harness-wearing whale that was spotted in Norway in 2019.
  • Other animals like sea lions can also be used. Eg: the US navy used these animals to support Operation Enduring Freedom in Bahrain in 2003.

Who:

  • The practice was started by the Soviet and the USA.

When:

  • The practice dates back to the Cold War era.

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