WAV Comment – Really wonderful news in these down times ! – I watched the move live into the special area, before going into the real sanctuary waters, on the BBC this morning (10/8/20); and it was great to see so many happy faces from people who have given so much to achieving this ‘dream come true’. Thanks also to ‘Cargolux’, who flew the whales to their new home. UK Merlin entertainments and the Charity ‘Sea Life Trust’ who were behind all of this all the way; and it is great to see that they know that wild animals such as these belong in the wild and not performing dumb tricks for even dumber humans who pay to go and see them ! – Mark.
Thanks but NO tanks !
Above – Beluga whale Little Grey is one of two whales to be freed from captivity in China to swim in the sea for the first time in nearly a decade
Our past posts on the trip to the sanctuary:
Beluga whale Little Grey is one of two whales to be freed from captivity in China to swim in the sea for the first time in nearly a decade
Meet the whales with plenty to smile about! Two belugas are transported from captivity in China to a new ocean refuge 6,000 miles away thanks to British charity
All photos via the Daily Mail – UK newspaper.
Click on this link to see all the photos and videos of this amazing trip to freedom !
Whales Little Grey and Little White have been taken to a sanctuary in Iceland
The belugas had been taught to perform tricks at Ocean World in Shanghai
It is the first time they have been in the sea since they were taken in 2011
They are creatures who always seem to have a smile on their faces.
And now, two beluga whales are sure to be feeling much happier thanks to British charity the Sea Life Trust.
The whales, called Little Grey and Little White, have been freed from captivity in China to swim in the sea for the first time in nearly a decade.
In a painstakingly-planned, 6,000-mile journey the charity relocated the 12-year-old pair from a Chinese aquarium – where they performed as show animals – to the world’s first open water sanctuary.
They are now exploring a special area of the facility at Klettsvik Bay off the south coast of Iceland to acclimatise before their final release in to the wider sanctuary.
Andy Bool, head of the Sea Life Trust, said: ‘We’re absolutely delighted to be able to share the news that Little Grey and Little White are safely in their sea sanctuary care pools and are just one step away from being released into their open water home.
‘Following extensive planning and rehearsals, the first stage of their release back to the ocean was as smooth as we had hoped and planned for.’
It is the first time the belugas, both female, have been in the sea since they were taken from a Russian whale research centre in 2011, the charity said.
The cetaceans were later transferred to China, where they performed tricks for fish.
For their trip to Iceland, the pair were put in specially-designed slings with custom-made foam matting to cushion their bodies during the complex journey, which involved a lorry, a Boeing 747-400ERF cargo aircraft and a harbour tugboat.
The final stage of their release is due in the coming weeks. Merlin Entertainments, the UK firm that owns Sea Life centres, acquired Changfeng Ocean World aquarium in China in 2012, and had been searching for a new home for the belugas.
The company made a ‘substantial donation’ to the Sea Life Trust to fund the operation.
The Sea Life Trust describes Little Grey as ‘very playful’ but she also has a mischievous side – and likes to spit water at her care team.
Little White is ‘much more reserved but still likes to play and forms close bonds with her carers’.
The average life span of a beluga is 40 to 60 years. An estimated 200,000 live in the wild.