WANTED: REGULAR DOLPHINS WITH POWERFUL JAWS. WILL PAY ₽₽₽!
This week, a Moscow aquarium reportedly won a normal-sounding $26,000 contract to supply Russia’s Ministry of Defense with five bottlenose dolphins with “perfect teeth, average length and a willingness to ‘display motor activity.’”
According to NBC News, Utrish Dolphinarium has promised to deliver the three male and two female dolphins “with all teeth intact ... [and] no mucus from the blowhole” to the Defense Ministry by August 1. The network reports the Russian government did not respond to a subsequent request for comment about the totally unsuspicious purchase.
During the Cold War, both the United States and the Soviet Union developed military dolphin programs for detecting mines, patrolling waters and even harpooning enemy divers. The Soviet program was later revived by Ukraine before being seized by Russia after the country’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. From The Washington Post:
That same year, an anonymous source told the state news agency RIA Novosti that the Russian military was again training flippered fighters, which the Defense Ministry denied. (A Ukrainian military spokesman pooh-poohed the whole matter at the time, telling The Washington Post that “dolphins are not a military asset.”)