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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Pinnipeds could be show animals ~ but in PUtin's Russia - they are different

Pinnipeds,  colloquially  known as seals,  are a widely distributed and diverse clade of fin-footed, semiaquatic marine mammals.   There are Seals and Sea-lions – and obviously there are some differences between the two species  Both seals and sea lions, together with the walrus, are pinnipeds, which means "fin footed" in Latin. But seals' furry, generally stubby front feet — thinly webbed flippers, actually, with a claw on each small toe — seem petite in comparison to the mostly skin-covered, elongated fore flippers that sea lions possess.  Sea lions have small flaps for outer ears. Seals do not.  Sea-lions are noise.  Sea-lions can walk on land by rotating their hind flippers forward and underneath their big bodies.  That trait makes them vulnerable to be showcased in aquarium ad marine shows !

Close to two  decades ago, a resort in East Coast Road, Chennai decided to import sea lions and dolphins for performance  – they initially attracted larger crowds too ! alas, the poor creatures could not adapt to the Madras climate and slowly died one after the other.  A PSU Insurer had provided cover both for the transit and their lives thereafter – and had to pay compensation to its owner arising out of their untimely death ! – remember that their values were a lakh or so !!! ~ again the value insured during Marine transit was higher and as the show progressed, the owner settled for a lower SI to cut down the premium cost and perhaps thus saved the Insurer of a bigger loss !

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.   They could be show animals – but this purpose in Putin’s Russia is entirely unthinkable by commoners.

The Siberian Times reporter and some other Press reported  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 !!!  

MailOnline reports that they  may look cute and friendly but seals could become modern warfare's deadliest weapon - at least if this video is anything to go by. Aquatic mammals Tito, 16, and Lilo,9, have been trained to shoot, defuse bombs and raise naval flags.

Footage showed them firing water pistols at targets and even saluting their trainer at Baikal Seal Aquarium, in the city of Irkutsk, Russia. Their training is all in honour of the county's Victory Day celebrations on Tuesday to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the capitulation of Nazi Germany in 1945. 

Director of Baikal aquarium Evgeniy Baranov told Ruptly TV the seals were intended to provoke 'some patriotic feelings, and readiness to defend their Homeland' ~  and Maria Chernovopivskaya, Trainer, Baikal seals aquarium, said: 'Tito and Lilo – those are our two fighters - they're just like us, different, each one with their own nature.  'Tito is like a go-ahead fellow and Lilo, as a girl, is more shy.'  But Warfare is not the only thing seals at Baikal Aquarium are trained to do.

Last year the MailOnline reported on two seals at the same place that can paint, dance and even play the saxophone.  Seals at Baikal Seal Aquarium in the city of Irkutsk have been training in the fine arts and have even mastered such other skills as painting. Those two seals were   Winnie-the-Pooh and Laska which  showcased their talents by painting strokes on a canvas and playing brass and woodwind instruments to entertain families with a special New Year's show.

Interesting or man’s intrusion into animal kingdom changing their natural ways !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

14th May 2017

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