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Monday, May 11, 2015

Russian grand Victory Parade ~ Pinnipeds (Seals) too join the show !!

Pinnipeds,  colloquially known as seals,  are a widely distributed and diverse clade of fin-footed, semiaquatic marine mammals. They comprise the  families  of Walrus, Sea lions, seals.  Pinnipeds belong to the order Carnivora and their closest living relatives are bears and musteloids (weasels, raccoons and skunks), having diverged about 50 million years ago.  Do animals have any specific liking for parties or Nations ?

9th May is an important day for Russia – it is Victory Day marking capitulation of  Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in the part of the Second World War, following the signing of the surrender document in May 1945. This year it was planned and celebrated big - ‘the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade’ took  place in Red Square in Moscow, commemorating the 70th  anniversary of the capitulation.  Being a landmark jubilee parade honouring the 70th anniversary, this year's parade was  one of the biggest and largest to be held in Russian history.

Away,  ‘SEAL’ is reference to the United States Navy's Sea, Air, Land Teams, commonly known as the Navy SEALs,  the U.S. Navy's principal special operations force and a part of the Naval Special Warfare Command and United States Special Operations Command.  The SEALs' duty is to conduct small-unit maritime military operations which originate from, and return to a river, ocean, swamp, delta, or coastline.  All SEALs are male members of the United States Navy.  The Navy SEALS were in operation in the killing of Osama. 

The Seals (animals) have streamlined bodies and four limbs that are modified into flippers. Though not as fast in the water as dolphins, seals are more flexible and agile. Pinnipeds have well-developed senses—their eyesight and hearing are adapted for both air and water, and they have an advanced tactile system in their whiskers or vibrissae. Some species are well adapted for diving to great depths.  Although pinnipeds are widespread, most species prefer the colder waters of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. They feed largely on fish and marine invertebrates; but a few, like the leopard seal, feed on large vertebrates, such as penguins and other seals.

The Siberian Times reporter and some other Press report that ‘even the seals are in patriotic mood as Russia marks sacred Victory Day’ – patriotic mood (!) as they wore military headgear, raised  the flag, carried  knives in their mouths, and  even indulged in target shooting !!!   While elsewhere in Russia dolphins and seals have been trained for real-life military activities, this is more of a show.

The seals, called Winnie the Pooh and Laska, march with toy guns wearing military hats for a performance linked to Victory Day on 9 May. They dive through obstacles with the plastic knives in their mouths, hoist a flag and shoot with water guns. Baikal seals were earlier trained to do tricks like playing with a ball, jumping through hoops, drawing, singing and dancing.  Evgeniy Baranov, founder of the world's first seal circus, said: 'The new show is a logical development of the tricks that our seals learned earlier. With every rehearsal they get better and better.'

The seals - Winnie the Pooh and Laska seals live in a special aquarium in Irkutsk,  cooled to 2-to-3 degrees Celsius, as in Lake Baikal, the deepest in the world.  They are fed with the same food as their wild, namely Baikal oil fish and goby fish.  The seals are reported to be smarter and can solve logical, technical puzzles'.

The two seals, named - Winnie the Pooh and Laska - have been trained to swim and underwater march and carry 'rifles'. A video shows the two seals - dressed in military headgear - raising a flag and shooting at targets after performing a proper salute. Their performance coincided with the annual Victory Day parade in the Russian capital, this year marking the 70th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany. Evgeniy Baranov, founder of the world's first seal circus, who has also taught the seals to 'dance the waltz', said: 'The new show is a logical development of the tricks that our seals learned earlier.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

11th May 2015.

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