Two beluga whales have been freed from captivity in China and traveled 6,000 miles to the world’s first open water sanctuary in Iceland. Whales Little Grey and Little White had performed tricks at Ocean World in Shanghai since they were sold to the park in 2011.
According to the Sea Life Trust, a British charity who organized the journey for Little Grey and Little White’s ultimate freedom, the cetaceans traveled by air and boat; the pair were being quarantined and acclimated to their temporary home at Klettsvik Bay before their final release into the wider sanctuary. They have been living in the temporary care facility to add more blubber in order to ready them for the colder temperatures.
Their journey consisted of being passengers on a Boeing 747-400ERF cargo aircraft. For their trip to Iceland, the belugas had been placed and carried in specially designed slings with foam to cushion them from any turbulence.
“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,” stated Andy Bool, head of the Sea Life Trust.
Sadly, Little Grey and Little White had never known freedom. The male and female were purchased from a whale research laboratory in Russia in 2011 and sold to the China park where they performed tricks for fish.
The final stage of their release is scheduled within a few weeks. The two love to play and have formed close bonds with their caretakers.
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Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland 900
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