A report released this week alleges North Korea is training dolphins as part of its naval force. Satellite images obtained by the non-profit United States Naval Institute appear to show where the animals are being kept and trained.
— U.S. Naval Institute (@NavalInstitute) November 12, 2020
Militarizing water mammals is not new. The United States Military has trained dolphins and sea lions over the years. Tasks for these mammals include spotting mines underwater and locating enemy swimmers or vessels.
There are also reports the Russian Navy has a military marine mammal program.
The images shared by the U.S. Naval Institute (USNI) allegedly show animal pens floating in waters between a shipyard and a coal loading dock, according to the organization. USNI is a non-profit organization not directly affiliated with the U.S. Navy and does not receive any government funding.
The USNI says the images show the program in North Korea likely dates from 2015, and is probably part of a modernization process across that country’s military. A base near the alleged animal pens in the image began development in 2016, USNI says.
USNI admits the pens in the images could also be used for some type of fish farm, being run by the armed forces. However, they say the pens in the images are different from fish farm pens.