While we're busy saving up for our ASOS wish list and, if we're lucky, a bottle of value vodka, Russia’s to buy’ list looks a teeny, tiny bit different. Mainly because it has dolphins at the top.
Apparently the Russian Defense Military are in the market for five dolphins, specifically two female and three male that are between three and five years old and 2.3 to 2.7 metreas in length. And they've budgeted around $25,000 for them.
We're not entirely sure what they want with these creatues, but an anonymous Russian miltary source has told the Russian media company RIA Novosti that they want to add them to the miltary dolphins they already have since seizing them from Ukraine in 2014 when Crimea was annexed (these originally belonged to the Soviet Union, before it was dissolved in 1991). Ukraine have since asked for Russia to return the dolphins, saying that the dolphins didn’t have a choice about whether they wanted to be part of Ukraine or Russia.
Dolphins have long been trained for military purpose as a way to detect underwater mines, but there are reports of them being trained them for more sinister purposes. The Soviet, for example, apparently equipped dolphins with clamps to attached to an ’intruder’ diver in which was a device that contained a ‘high pressure charge of CO2’ which could be injected into the divers body and kill them, although it was preferable to take them alive.
Doug Cartlidge, executive director of the European Cetacean Organisation, described to Wired how the Russians had used dolphins to attach mines to enemy ships and says he has ‘spoken with trainers [in the US] who confirm they did use killer dolphins’. However, the US Navy, who have white whales and sea lions as well as bottlenose dolphins in their Navy Marine Mammal Programme, state on their website that ‘The Navy does not now train, nor has it ever trained, its marine mammals to harm or injure humans in any fashion or to carry weapons to destroy ships.’
In 2012 it was reported that Ukraine were training dolphins to attack enemy swimmers with knives or pistols attached to their heads although the Ukraine Defense Ministry has denied training dolphins as weapons.
If you're interested in finding out more about the use of dolphins in the military, watch this YouTube video because it's pretty damn fascinating. I think.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.