Sasha Goldstein reports for the NY Daily News:
They’re trained to kill — but these dolphins can’t resist their animal instincts.
Three of five dolphins taught by the Ukrainian navy to attack enemy combatants are reported missing after failing to return to a Crimean port following a training exercise earlier this month, the local media reports. The dolphins are believed to be out chasing tails.
“Control over dolphins was quite common in the 1980’s,” Yury Plyachenko, a former Soviet naval anti-sabotage officer, told RIA Novosti, a Russian news source. “If a male dolphin saw a female dolphin during the mating season, then he would immediately set off after her. But they came back in a week or so.”
The Soviets used the smart sea creatures for similar purposes dating back to 1973. The sleek swimmers were used by the Soviet Navy to detect mines and to plant explosives on enemy ships. The program died when the USSR broke up and the retired military veteran dolphins were handed to the Ukrainians, who used the animals to work with disabled children.
But last year, RIA Novosti reported, the Ukrainian Navy restarted the program, training the dolphins to attack enemies with knives and guns attached to their heads. Photos showing the military-trained dolphins have frequently appeared in the Ukrainian press, but the country’s defense department has consistently denied the reports.
Now three of the highly-trained dolphins are MIA after never returning to the Crimean port of Sevastopol.
The United States has used dolphins in warfare, too. The animals were trained and deployed for intelligence gathering during the Iraq War, CBS Seattle reported.