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Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 20 October 2012
in Mother Nature's Big and Small

Are Dolphins Being Trained to Kill?

Do you remember the MTV cartoon Daria? The cartoon featured an acerbic high school student named ocean Bottlenose dolphin USFWSDaria and her best friend Jane. The duo could often be found watching a show called Sick, Sad World- a news program like 60 Minutes but about roadside oddities and bizarre events. There was always a voiceover introduction to the fictionalized news show like: "What's that you're really stirring in your tea, honey or bee vomit? Animal secretions that make us say 'yum' tonight on Sick, Sad World."

Sometimes I hear news that makes me think of Sick, Sad World. For example: Wired.com is reporting via RIA Novosit, a Russian news agency, that the Ukrainian Navy has plans to train dolphins to kill enemy combat swimmers.  

The voiceover for today’s blog, “Is Flipper being trained to kill in cold blood? These dolphins won’t be featured at a theme park near you anytime soon!”

The marine mammal program, headquartered in the Ukrainian naval port of Sevastopol, is being revived after it was handed over to the Ukrainian naval fleet when the USSR dissolved.  

Upon receipt of the program and its specialists the military aspect ended and it was used for beneficial and much more heartwarming civilian tasks like work with disabled children. But that was just done to “keep the unit intact” so the Ukrainian Navy could one day return to the program’s roots: teaching dolphins to kill.

The program includes plans to train the mammals to search for mines and mark them with buoys and maybe even attach specially designed guns or knives to their heads to kill an enemy. One would have to assume, if the idea is successfully carried out, that the dolphins will be bumping up against a diver and this action will cause the attached weapon to do the dirty work because dolphins don’t have hands.

Recent research from the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego says dolphins can stay alert with no signs of fatigue for up to 15 days in a row and still use echolocation accurately because only one half of a dolphin’s brain sleeps at a time. This means we could be looking at the future of marine combat: an alert, efficient, vigilant, and intelligent dolphin soldier with a gun strapped to his head.

To borrow the words of one Wired.com commenter: “There is only one option left to us, we will take the fight to them, we need sharks. We need sharks with lasers.” Somehow I don’t think it will ever come to that option.

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Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio. Samina and her husband believe that sustainability starts in the home and try to live their lives as simply as possible without compromising comfort.

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1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.

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1945: Delivered to US Army.

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1950: Acquired by the US Navy on July 1, 1950 and placed in service as USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1954: The movie, Mister Roberts, was made on the USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.

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1963: Reclassified as Miscellaneous Unclassified (IX-308).

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1971: The New Bedford (IX-308) served as a Torpedo Test Firing Vessel in the Puget Sound area.

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1994: Ceremony in New Bedford.

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1995: The ship was struck from the Naval Register on April 4.

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2004: The Sea Bird's current disposition is a tuna long liner (fishing boat) out of San Diego, CA.

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2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.

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2007: The Sea Bird was drydocked for renovations.

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2008: The Sea Bird setting sail to Sea-Tac in Seattle, WA.

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2009 - 2010: The Sea Bird is currently docked at Seattle Sea-Tac.

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