The Russian International New Agency (RIA Novosti) is reporting that three “killer” dolphins have escaped from their Ukranian handlers. The mammals were engaged in training exercises when they took off for open water.
The publication quoted a former Soviet naval anti-sabotage officer as saying the dolphins probably took in search of mates. The officer stated that it isn’t uncommon for the dolphins to take off during mating season, but that they come back to their handlers “in a week or so.”
The Ukrainian dolphins were being trained to attack (enemy) swimmers and to detect mines. In a statement that invokes the likes of Austin Powers villain Dr. Evil, an unnamed source told RIA Novosti that the dolphins were being trained to use “special knives” and “pistols fixed to their heads.” Obviously, that throws the entire report into doubt, but if true it could mean some of the ocean’s smartest animals could soon have the firepower to defend their territory.
The U.S. and Soviet navies began training dolphins in the 60s and 70s. When the U.S.S.R. fell, the dolphin training program was transferred to the Ukrainian Navy, which continued training the mammals for civilian purposes, but restarted military training for the animals in 2012.