Evidence is emerging that the North Korean regime is training dolphins for military purposes, according to new satellite imagery, the non-profit United States Naval Institute (USNI) reported.
Based on image intelligence, North Korea’s program dates back to October 2015, when they first appeared at the site of a major naval display in Nampo, a naval base and port city on the west coast. According to the USNI the program is likely part of the widespread modernization of the navy that has taken place under North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The images show animal pens floating in murky waters, between a shipyard and a coal loading dock, with warships based nearby, Fox News reported.
Another base further up the river on the edge of town seems to be where the dolphins are being bred, the report said.
The U.S. Navy pioneered the use of marine mammals, including dolphins and sea lions, for military purposes — such as spotting mines and locating enemy swimmers, the release said.
To date, only the Russian Navy, with bases in the Arctic and the Black Sea, had followed suit.
It’s possible the marine mammal pens spotted in North Korea are some type of fish farm, many of which are run by the country’s armed forces. The enclosures seen in the satellite images, however, aren’t consistent with other fish farms in North Korea, the USNI reported.
Comparisons to the marine mammal pens used by the U.S. Navy and Russian Navy indicates that the North Korean pens are sized for dolphins, the report said.
North Korea also trains porpoises for a dolphinarium in the capital, Pyongyang, and, because of the overlap between the country’s military and civilian apparatus, it’s possible its navy also benefits from that program.