The combat dolphin program in the Crimean city of Sevastopol will be preserved and redirected towards the interests of the Russian Navy, according to a report by official news agency RIA Novosti.
The program, dating to the 1960s, was previously scheduled to be disbanded by the Ukrainian navy in April, but the facility and the dolphins themselves have now become Russian following the recent reunification of Crimea with Russia.
The dolphins are trained to patrol open water and attack or attach buoys to items of military interest, such as mines on the sea floor or combat scuba divers trained to slip past enemy security perimeters, known as 'frogmen'. Man-made sonar systems are often incapable of detecting such small objects in crowded environments such as harbors.
Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the dolphin program was handed over to the Ukrainian navy, where it was initially reconverted for civilian uses, such as working with disabled children. The military arm of the facility was re-formeda in 2011.
The facility is one of only two such combat dolphin training centers in the world, the other is run by the US Navy in San Diego.
Source: Ria Novosti