Two Beluga Whales Transported From Chinese Aquarium to Open-Water Ocean Refuge
Two 12-year-old, female beluga whales have been transported from Changfeng Ocean World to an open water sanctuary in Iceland.
The two whales, Little Grey and Little White, had been at the Ocean World aquarium in Shanghai for nearly 10 years. There, they were forced to entertain audiences as they were trained to perform tricks in exchange for fish. According to The Guardian, the whales are originally from the Russian Arctic waters and were only about 2 or 3 years old when they were first captured. Prior to their time at the Chinese aquarium, the two whales had been at a Russian whale research center.
Little White and Little Grey have been rescued by the UK based conservation charity Sea Life Trust.
Sea Life Trust has shipped the two whales from China to Iceland so that they can return to the ocean for the first time. The journey of the two whales has been extraordinary as they have had to travel around 6,000 miles in a lorry, cargo aircraft and a harbor tugboat. What is more, for their journey, Little White and Little Grey had been placed in specially designed slings to protect their bodies.
Sea Life Trust has reportedly released a statement, claiming:
Little Grey and Little White are now in their bayside care pool and will need a short period of time to acclimatise to their new natural environment and all the outdoor elements before their final release into the wider sanctuary in Klettsvik Bay in the Westman Islands off the south coast of Iceland. […] The expert team and the independent vets were with Little Grey and Little White throughout the move and said they are healthy and are feeding after the short trip from their landside care facility back to the sea.”
We can now announce the fantastic news that Little White & Little Grey are safely in the bay! They will stay in the sea sanctuary care pools for a short amount of time to acclimatise until they are ready to move out into the wider bay. https://t.co/hLS60Kj0Xe
— Beluga Whale Sanctuary (@BelugaSanctuary) August 10, 2020
The above video documents the transportation and the long journey which the two whales have had to take to reach the bay. After nearly a decade of captivity, it is wonderful to see them get closer to the freedom they deserve.