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Killer Ukrainian Dolphins Do Probably Exist, But Are Not Escaped

Submitted by on March 13, 2013 – 5:16 pm2 Comments

A news story that swept the internet for the past 24 hours has turned out to be a hoax, but not in the way you might think. The report that trained military dolphins escaped from their handlers into the Black Sea is false- although the trained military dolphins almost certainly do exist.

Dolphin researcher and blogger Justin Gregg broke the news, which originated from a forged statement by an “Ocenarium” director which was picked up by a Ukrainian newspaper. Gregg summarizes:

After rebooting the Soviet Union’s marine mammal program just last year with the goal of teaching dolphins to find underwater mines and kill enemy divers, three of the Ukrainian military’s new recruits have gone AWOL. Apparently they swam away from their trainers this morning ostensibly in search of a “mate” out in open waters. It might not be such a big deal except that these dolphins have been trained to “attack enemy combat swimmers using special knives or pistols fixed to their heads.

Ok, so maybe the image of a dolphin with a pistol strapped to its head (how would that even work?) should have triggered some immediate red flags. But the phenomenon of dolphins and other sea mammals being trained for military purposes is as well documented as a secretive defense matter can be. As Gregg points out, the RIA news service noted last fall that the Ukraine was restarting its program, and the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (I’m not sure why) noted in 1997 that the Ukraine received the Soviet Union’s trained dolphins after the USSR’s dissolution. Even the article on the current hoax notes that several of the State Oceanarium’s dolphins are “veterans” in the care of the “ministry of defence.”

What do you think? Will you watch out for killer dolphins the next time you are at the beach?

[via The Atlantic; image via Wikipedia]

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