I saw the story in passing yesterday… ‘Killer’ Ukrainian dolphins on the loose from military trainers.
Ukrainian dolphins trained to find underwater mines and kill enemy divers have skirted their navy handlers and swam off, apparently in search of mates, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Gawker also freaked out about dolphins loose with guns attached to their heads. I must be getting a bit immune to the headline hype because it barely made a blip in my brain. But today, the story is updated. Sometimes, it pays to wait.
It turns out that one piece of the Ukrainian dolphin story is, in fact, a hoax. No dolphins from the Ukrainian army’s complement have actually escaped, according to this newspaper report. The hoax began with this faked report from the museum director, which led to a story by RIA Novosti.
The Atlantic writer notes that it seems pretty plausible which gave the story “legs”. And, it had a kernel of truth: dolphins have really been used for military applications. No doubt about that. It’s not a stretch to believe this could happen or HAS happened in the past and could again. It’s yet another example of not assuming everything in the news is true but keeping an eye out for clarifications.
The story of Navy dolphins is a fascinating history.