The US Navy announced last year that they were discontinuing the training of dolphins and sealions for marine warfare, a programme which began in the 1960s using the dolphins sonar capabilities to detect mines and enemy swimmers.
In Ukraine however they have just recommenced a programme, first started by the Russians in 1973, at the Crimean port of Sevastapol. The Russians were training dolphins to locate seabed mines, attack enemy divers, and carry explosives to plant on ships.
Despite frequent pictures in the press showing dolphins with naval equipment strapped to them the Ukrainian Defence Ministry refuses to acknowledge the existence of any such programme.
In any case it’s not gone too well as three of the five dolphins sent out have gone AWOL after swimming away from their handlers according to Ukrainian and Russian news outlets. It’s believed that they have gone off to look for mates (well you know what they say about sailors…).
Yuri Plyachenko, a former Russian naval anti-sabotage officer associated with the programme in the 1980s told the Russian state news agency that it was quite common for them to do this when they saw female dolphins in the mating season but they always returned.
If female Ukrainian dolphins are as good-looking as Ukrainian women then who can blame them? And although they look playful they can be just as devious as humans and demonstrate human-like behaviour as Sponging Eve showed..