Hot on the news that the Greeks have created the world’s first dolphin sanctuary, two Beluga Whales from an aquarium in Shanghai have just arrived in Iceland 6,000 miles away to go to a whale sanctuary there.
The whales – Little Grey & Little White – are 12 years old. They’ve been in captivity since they were about 2 years old and performed in font of crowds as “entertainment”.
The British Firm that runs the aquarium – Merlin Entertainment – bought the Changfeng Ocean World Zoo in 2012. And it started to look for a home for Little Grey & Little White.
Head of the British Conservation Charity, Sea Life Trust, explained that preparations have been on-going for about 18 months to prepare the whales for their journey.
They travelled by plane on a Cargolux freighter to Iceland, then, truck and a ferry from the mainland to the island where they will live. Teams monoitored the whales to ensure they were safe and comfortable during the flight. A Cargolux engineer and a team of global veterinary experts with experience in transporting marine mammals were also on board to check on the whales’ welfare.
Their new home is the world’s first open water Beluga sanctuary – it will provide a more natural sub-Arctic environment for them, with wilder habitat. The bay will be protected to protect the two female whites as it is thought they won’t survive on their own in the wild. The Sanctuary is in a natural and beautiful sea inlet, in Klettsvik Bay. There’s a landside care facility, and a visitor centre minutes away – so you can visit!
The sanctuary was created in partnership with Whale and Dolphin Conservation. It’s run by the SEA LIFE Trust with a donation from Merlin Entertainments.
Scientists are going to study Little Grey & Little White to see how they adapt to their new natural home. And depending on how they get on, the sanctuary could become home to other Belugas as well.