If you think that only men can make good spies, you are in for a big surprise. Over centuries, animals have also been trained and deployed as spies. Presently, a ‘whale spy’, believed to be Russian trained, has caught the world’s attention. A beluga whale, wearing a harness, with mounts for a camera was spotted by fishermen off Norway’s northern coast.
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A marine biologist at Norway’s Directorate of Fisheries, Jorgen Ree Wiig says the harness appears ‘specially made’ with ‘mounts for GoPro cameras on each side of it’. Wigg said the harness clips stated ‘Equipment St.Petersburg. He believes the whale came from Murmansk, Russia and was trained by the Russian Navy. “Russia’s navy has been known to train belugas to conduct military operations before, like guarding naval bases, helping divers and finding lost equipment.” Experts say that marine mammals including dolphins, porpoises, sea lions, orcas, belugas and pilot whales have drawn the attention of rival militaries. These animals possess extraordinary sensory and physical abilities, they can also change their behavior.
This means that these creatures can be trained to perform much the same tasks at sea that dogs perform on land. As per the Siberian Times, the Murmansk Sea Biology Research Institute, in 2017, trained beluga whales, dolphins and seals for military roles. The United States is also known to do the same. The US Navy began its marine mammal programme in 1960, hoping to improve the hydrodynamics of its torpedoes and its ability to detect objects underwater, by studying dolphins.
The Navy trained dolphins to locate enemy mines and lost objects on the seabed. An American journalist David Morrison reveals a team of dolphins was also deployed to South Vietnam to guard the US fleet anchored in Cam Ranh Bay against saboteurs in 1971. Morrison said the navy dolphins were transported to the Persian Gulf in 1987 to detect Iranian mines and guard against enemy frogmen attempting to attack the US Navy’s floating command post.
Moreover, the US Navy has kept its Marine Mammal Program a secret and only disclosed it in the 1990s. Bottle nose dolphins, which have a natural biosonar, regarded to be better than any manmade device, and California sea lions, known for their incredible underwater eyesight are trained.