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Common bottlenose dolphin wild and free © Tim Stenton
Humpback whale

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Dolphin pens identified at Russian naval base

Analysis of satellite imagery suggests that Russia may be using military dolphins at its naval base at Sevastopol in the Black Sea. Sea pens used to hold the dolphins have been identified near the entrance to the harbour. Tasks carried out by the dolphins may include searching for objects and patrolling local waters.

The US Naval Institute (USNI) reviewed pictures of the base and believe that the pens were moved to the base in February at the start of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Following the break-up of the Soviet Union, Ukraine took over the dolphins in the Black Sea until Crimea was invaded by Russia in 2014. Since then, Ukraine has been unsuccessfully trying to get the creatures returned.

In 2019, a beluga whale, thought to be from a Russian military facility in the Arctic, turned up off the coast of Norway, interacting with local fishermen.

About George Berry

George is a member of WDC's Communications team and website coordinator.

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