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Russia sea tests white whales for military purposes in Arctic waters

By The Siberian Times reporter
01 June 2017

But seals prove more adept at undertaking polar missions, including potentially killing intruders, say experts.

There is a long history of dolphins and seals being trained in Sevastopol. Picture: Mikhail Semenov

White whales, seals and dolphins have been trained for Arctic military roles, according to a report by TV Zvezda, owned by the Defence Ministry. 

There is a long history of dolphins and seals being trained in Sevastopol, in Crimea, dating back to Soviet times, and US naval forces has trained and deployed sea mammals in military roles.

A new role in the Arctic - where Russia is restoring its military presence which was reduced after the end of the USSR - is a revelation.

Intriguingly work was done to assess if white whales could be used to 'guard entrances to naval bases' in polar regions,  'assist deep water divers and if necessary kill any strangers who enter their territory', according to the report. 

Russia sea tests white whales for military purposes in Arctic waters


Russia sea tests white whales for military purposes in Arctic waters


Russia sea tests white whales for military purposes in Arctic waters
Intriguingly work was done to assess if white whales could be used to 'guard entrances to naval bases' in polar regions. Pictures: Mikhail Semenov, Kremlin.ru


Training was conducted by Murmansk Sea Biology Research Institute for the country's Northern Navy, it was reported.

'Mainly it was about white whales with highly sensitive sonars,' stated the Zvezda story. 'It was planned that white whales could be on duty at the entrances to naval bases.

'But (they) turned to be very delicate animals - they easily got ill after long swimming in cold polar waters.'

So whales were seen as less capable that 'seal-killers'.

'These animals are very strong with good guarding reactions', said the report. 'Even after a one year break in training the seal will keep all oral commands in its memory.'

Russia sea tests white whales for military purposes in Arctic waters
Scientist Gennady Matishov said they had high 'professionalism', and humans are seen as happier to deal with seals than - for example - sea lions. Picture: Mikhail Semenov


Ringed, bearded, grey and Greenland seals have been put through their paces, as have bottle-nosed dolphins in a programme financed by the Russian Academy of Sciences.

'They can locate mines and lift objects from deep waters. It is enough to show and object to a seal and it will find it at the bottom. 

'The seal can be actively in touch with a diver - it can bring up a tool or carry away something, and it can distinguish 'his' diver from a stranger. 

'If the seal receives a special signal, it can block or kill the underwater saboteur.'

Russia sea tests white whales for military purposes in Arctic waters


Russia sea tests white whales for military purposes in Arctic waters


Russia sea tests white whales for military purposes in Arctic waters
The US is known to use sea animals to search for missing people at sea, to hunt for mines, and find and lift objects from the sea floor. Pictures: Mikhail Semenov


Bearded seals have come out on top as 'special forces' underwater combatants in northern conditions, it is understood. 

Scientist Gennady Matishov said they had high 'professionalism', and humans are seen as happier to deal with seals than - for example - sea lions.

Yet seals are also known to become distracted and - for example - males may disappear if they decide to chase a female. 

An open tender shows the Defence Ministry last year bought five bottle-nosed dolphins aged  between three and five. 

The US is known to use sea animals to search for missing people at sea, to hunt for mines, and find and lift objects from the sea floor. 

Comments (4)

It´s logical that Private Discussion Groups want the natural resources in the international poles but the humanity has to protect them.This idea doesn´t mean that it can exist a minimum service that it could include White Whales to protect the poles agains ´t disasters.This phenomenon remenber the great dogs that are really heroes saving people in snowed mountains in Switzeland, but in the case to develop this program in Russia, the authorities has to respect the rights about White Whales, treating them with a great honour like special forces that save lifes in difficult conditions.
César De Lucas Ivorra, It´s a moment to protect the Artic with the helpness of White Whales
28/06/2017 02:10
0
0
If it comes natural and no killing I can agree that seals could be defenders of their nation wherever their natural habitat is located When I rode in the dog sled in Lystvysnks Suberia they enjoyed the run as much as I did They appeared happiest when trotting along for miles Well fed and cared for it seemed right to me Unscrupulous people should not be allowed to exploit and living creature so be truthful and caring and you will not be condemned for having animals enjoy their unborn skills
Patrucia Gothard, Laguna woods CA USA
10/06/2017 23:46
2
1
the way the human race causes so much suffering to animals... that's why my greatest wish is that we humans become extinct...
Susanna, Sao Paulo/Brazil
09/06/2017 03:34
5
3
Disgusting...
Jean-Pierre, France
05/06/2017 00:12
16
0
1

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