Images indicate Russia using dolphins to defend Black Sea base — analysts

Satellite photos show dolphin pens placed at entrance to Sevastopol harbor; marine mammals can be trained for anti-diver operations

Ilustrative: Two dolphins at the Dolphin Reef in Eilat. (Shmuel Bar-Am)
Ilustrative: Two dolphins at the Dolphin Reef in Eilat. (Shmuel Bar-Am)

Satellite images indicate Russia is using trained dolphins to help defend its naval base in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol, according to analysts.

US Naval Institute News reported on the discovery, citing an analysis of images obtained from Maxar Technologies, which show that dolphin pens were placed at the entrance to Sevastopol harbor in February, as Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.

Analyst H I Sutton said the dolphins have likely been trained to discover any enemy divers who may try to enter the strategic Black Sea port for sabotage operations.

Marine mammals have long been used by the US and Russia for various underwater tasks, and dolphins can be useful assets, both due to their good communication skills and their echolocation capabilities, which allow them to accurately detect objects underwater, similar to how sonar works.

If a dolphin detects divers attempting to enter the harbor, it would likely alert its handlers or attempt to disrupt the activity.

Maxar Technologies said it agreed with USNI’s analysis of its images.

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