North Korea may have “dolphin troops”

North Korea may have “dolphin troops”

Satellite images show dolphin troops along the coast near Nampo, North Korea.

According to USNI News, suspected dolphin troops or fish farms have been revealed in North Korea, proving the Naval Marine Mammal Program in satellite images along the coast near Nampo, North Korea.

This article goes beyond military purposes, but to highlight the fact that dolphins remain in captivity to train for military purposes in floating enclosures.

New satellite images show evidence of dolphin troops that North Korea is training dolphins for military purposes
New satellite photos show evidence that North Korea is training dolphins for military purposes.
Image credit: HI Sutton (Image Used with Original author’s Permission)

According to the U.S. Naval Association News Network reported on November 12, some animal enclosures appeared in the sea off the west coast of Nampo, North Korea.

Nanpu is a naval base and port city on the west coast.

These animal enclosures are located between a shipyard and a coal loading dock.

This base may still be used intermittently, possibly for training with nearby naval forces.

But the main activity moved to a place on the edge of the town further from the river.

The base may be a breeding ground for dolphins and will be used from October 2016.

Trained dolphin programme in a Pyongyang aquarium
Trained dolphin programme in a Pyongyang aquarium
Trained dolphins perform in a new Pyongyang aquarium. (Image source: KCNA)

According to the report and various sources of intelligence, North Korea’s plan for the Dolphin Force can be traced back to at least October 2015.

Its first appearance was a large-scale naval exhibition held in Nampo.

The project is likely to be led by North Korea’s supreme leader Kim Jong Un, 2015 and it’s a part of the large-scale modernization of the Navy.

Dolphin troops

The report pointed out that the waters enclosed by the fence may also be some kind of fish farm.

In recent years, North Korea has paid more and more attention to fish farming, and fish farming has appeared all over the country.

Many are managed by the armed forces. However, an investigation of fish farms revealed that the fences found in this satellite photo are inconsistent with fish farms in other locations in North Korea.

The size and shape are similar to the fences of the “Dolphin Troops” of the United States and Russia. It is judged that North Korea is training dolphins for military purposes.

Why dolphins train for military purposes ?

Bottlnose dolphin are using for several military exercises due their high IQ level.
A dolphin exposes a detecting device on its fin as it jumps from the sea during a patrol in Manama, Bahrain, on August 11, 2003. (source:

Dolphins have high IQ and strong athletic ability. They can perform mine countermeasures, reconnaissance, and anti-frogman tasks in the sea.

British physicist Gray proposed that the dolphin has an excellent shape and can minimize the resistance of the water, and while maintaining a high speed (up to 60 km/h), the dolphin consumes more energy than a human or any water creatures.

History of dolphin train for military activities

US kept dolphins in captivity to military training

During the Gulf War in 1991, the U.S. military recruited six dolphins to form a special maritime patrol team, which was deployed near the waters of Falsey Island in the northern part of the Gulf to perform the task of patrolling large U.S. military transport ships.

The report pointed out that the US Navy took the lead in training dolphins (specially Bottlenose dolphin), sea lions, porpoises, and other marine mammals for military purposes, and has a project in San Diego.

Training dolphins for military purposes is not affordable by the navies of most countries.

So far, apart from the United States, only Russia has publicly set up such training bases in the Arctic and the Black Sea.


Despite the clear realization of marine mammal programs, the utilization of animals in military activities remains questionable.

Basic rights regimes have condemned the military for endangering dolphins. Dolphins are large enough to trigger a mine by coincidence, despite the fact that the Naval Force requires animals never to get close enough to explosives to detonate them.

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The pictures in this article are taken by, and

Rajitha Dissanayake

Researcher in the field of Marine Mammals and Bio-acoustic

I'm a Master’s student in marine mammals and bio-acoustic laboratory, Institute of Deep-Sea Science and Engineering (IDSSE), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and focusing on the sustainable environmental application, conservation, and exploring all aspects of the ecology and behavior of marine mammals.

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