There is a deep and quiet lake enwrapped in the woods somewhere in the polar territory of Russia. A narrow bay connects the lake with the sea during rising tides. The lake is the home of the Sea Mammals Laboratory of the Murmansk-based Marine Biological Institute. Supposedly, the lab works as one of the top secret departments to train sea mammals to conduct rescue works under the water and struggle against underwater saboteurs and terrorists in nuclear naval bases.
Russian news agencies have recently reported about the resumption of research works at the Krasniye Kamni (Red Stones) range ground to train sea mammals for the protection of strategic infrastructure on the Kola Peninsula.
“Red Stones is not a geographical name of a certain territory. The center was dubbed so by the locals,” Nikolai Kavtsevich, the director of the sea mammals department of the institute said.
There are 12 pinniped animals living and working in the laboratory: eared seals, Greenland seals and Atlantic gray seals. Mr. Kavtsevich believes that the gray seals are the most valuable species for such cooperation with humans: they are quite undemanding with food, well-trainable and hard-working. In addition, the Atlantic gray seals show no aggression against people.
Everything that happens in the sea mammal laboratory is covered with a thick veil of secrecy. Specialists agree to talk about the conventional needs for which the sea animals could be trained in the lab. “Unlike dogs, for example, sea mammals are not human-oriented. They do not try to guess an unexpressed wish or command in order to execute it. One has to set precise goals for them which they can execute on the automatic level of reflexes,” a specialist of the Murmansk Biological Institute said.
Sea mammals possess unique possibilities. There can be no better guards found to watch over the objects of special importance – ports or refinery complexes, for instance. Fast as torpedoes, seals and dolphins can provide irreplaceable help during rescue and search activities.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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