This spring, two beluga whales called Little Grey and Little White will travel from Changfeng Ocean World aquarium in Shanghai, China to the world’s first beluga whale sanctuary in Iceland. The marine and animal welfare project led by the SEA LIFE Trust in partnership with Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) is a significant step towards protecting the species and ending whale and dolphin captivity shows.
Beluga Sanctuary on the Icelandic island of Heimaey features a large natural sea inlet where the two female beluga whales will be able to enjoy their new lives close to their natural Arctic habitat. The 6,000-mile journey will take around 30 hours and will involve traveling by air, land, and sea. If you’re wondering about the whale’s physical and mental health during the stressful journey, a team of veterinary specialists will be on hand to provide the best of care. The sanctuary has been sharing updates of how the whales are doing on Twitter. As of writing, Little Grey and Little White are currently preparing for their journey by going through fitness training and eating a special diet to help them survive in the colder environment.
The sanctuary says, “By demonstrating that captive belugas can be relocated from aquariums and brought into a more natural, wild environment where they can behave more naturally, the project team hope to inspire other facilities holding whales and dolphins to seek an alternative future for these amazing creatures.”
You can find out more about Beluga Sanctuary and donate to the cause on the SEA LIFE Trust website.
These beluga whales, called Little Grey and Little White, are preparing to become residents the world’s first beluga whale sanctuary in Iceland.
UPDATE: Iceland is experiencing severe weather conditions this week. To ensure the belugas arrive safely, their departure has been temporarily postponed. The belugas’ welfare remains our top priority & they will continue to prepare for their journey. https://t.co/ZutZdg8G5e pic.twitter.com/n4wLfFT3uy
— Beluga Sanctuary (@BelugaSanctuary) April 16, 2019
They will travel all the way from Changfeng Ocean World aquarium in Shanghai, China.
The journey may be delayed, but Little Grey & Little White continue to prepare for their travels! The #belugas have gained 100KG in weight to help them adapt to their new home which will have much colder temperatures. This will be closer to a beluga’s natural habitat. pic.twitter.com/uoSEjTaodK
— Beluga Sanctuary (@BelugaSanctuary) April 19, 2019
The sanctuary features a large natural sea inlet close to their natural Arctic habitat.
Did you know #belugawhales are one of the smallest species of whale in the world?
Despite this they can grow up to 5.5 metres long and weigh up to 1,600kgs. That’s the weight of two speedboats. Impressive… pic.twitter.com/Ou8LeC8J6b
— Beluga Sanctuary (@BelugaSanctuary) May 1, 2019
“Little Grey is bursting with personality and is quite cheeky and bold whereas Little White is more shy and reserved.” @Taznii, the Official @OlympusUK Ambassador, has fallen in love with their personalities already 😍 pic.twitter.com/V9ejoMwiUX
— Beluga Sanctuary (@BelugaSanctuary) May 5, 2019
In the wild, beluga whales are able to hold their breath for nearly half an hour!
To make sure Little White and Little Grey are prepared, they are being given important fitness training to make their transition as smooth as possible. pic.twitter.com/FLIKB1W9Bu
— Beluga Sanctuary (@BelugaSanctuary) May 15, 2019
All images via SEA LIFE Trust / Beluga Sanctuary.
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