After nearly a decade in captivity, two beluga whales finally got the chance to taste freedom. It was the biggest day for Little Grey and Little White, who barely kept their excitement when the rescue team relocated them in their new home!
The beluga pair spent nine years at the Ocean World in Shanghai, China where they have been forced to perform as show animals in exchange for treats. The majestic creatures have been brought here back in 2011 from a Russian research centre and since then the lived away from the ocean.
Now, thanks to the efforts of the Sea Life Trust – a UK-based charity, the lovely mammals got the chance to taste freedom once again. They have been relocated 6,000 miles away, in Iceland, to the world’s first beluga sanctuary. After nearly a decade, the two belugas will now get the chance to freely swim in open ocean.
We can now announce the fantastic news that Little White and Little Grey are safely in the bay! 💙 They will stay in the sea sanctuary care pools for a short time to acclimatise until they are ready to move into the wider bay. Updates to follow! ➡️ https://t.co/iPjNp1Kqoh pic.twitter.com/Sqc1WnrS6z
— Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) (@whalesorg) August 10, 2020
“We’re absolutely delighted … 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 wider open water home,” Andy Bool, head of Sea Life Trust, said in a statement. “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. We are carefully monitoring Little Grey and Little White.”
After a very long journey by plane, Little Grey and Little White have both arrived safely in their new home. They will now start an accommodation period “to acclimatise to their new natural environment, before their final release into the wider sanctuary in Klettsvik Bay, Iceland,” Andy Bool’s statement reads.