Russia’s military is now recruiting dolphins


Dolphins can be surprisingly effective military assets.
A defense ministry tender published online this week has called for five dolphins with ‘perfect teeth’.
The mysterious military notice specified that Russia was willing to pay the sum of $24,000 to a broker who could provide three male and two female bottlenose dolphins.

The tender stipulated that the animals should be ready and willing to “display motor activity” and needed to be around average length which, in the case of a dolphin, is around 8-9ft long.

There is no indication of exactly what his mammalwill be used for however the notice does imply that Russia may still be dabbling with the idea of deploying the animals during military operations.

The concept is actually not as silly as it sounds because the Soviets had previously used this mammal during the Cold War and the US military is also known to have trained dolphins as well.

Being intelligent and highly proficient swimmers, the animals were used for a number of different tasks including rescuing mariners, locating underwater mines and even spying on the enemy.

Russia’s military is looking for a few good dolphins to join its navy – five, to be exact, with perfect teeth, average length and a willingness to “display motor activity.”

That’s according to a Defense Ministry tender that was published online this week. It offered about $24,000 to a broker who could supply three male and two female bottlenose dolphins, each about eight feet long, for the service of the Russian state.

The notice, which was described by the state-run TASS news agency before it was apparently taken down, did not indicate what military duty the dolphins would be expected to perform, nor why they need good teeth. But it rekindled speculation that the Russian navy is reviving the combat dolphin units that served as Soviet spies, investigators, rescuers – and possibly even assassins – during the Cold War.

Those dolphins were based in Sevastopol, on the Crimean Peninsula, during the Soviet era. They were absorbed by Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and in 2000, the BBC reported that the animals, which had been moved to a “private dolphinarium to perform for tourists,” were being sold to Iran because its handler could no longer feed them.

Ukraine resurrected the dolphin military training program in 2012, according to the Guardian. But after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, it also took control of the military aquarium and the dolphins, despite Ukrainian objections.

That same year, an anonymous source told the state news agency RIA Novosti that the Russian military was again training flippered fighters, which the Defense Ministry denied. (A Ukrainian military spokesman pooh-poohed the whole matter at the time, telling The Washington Post that “dolphins are not a military asset.”)

Whether Russia will be able to find any candidates for its latest project however remains to be seen.