August 17, 2020

Pair of Beluga Whales Moved From an Aquarium to an Open Water Sanctuary – Details of the Story

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Two beluga whales named Little Grey and Little White were moved to their new home of an open sea sanctuary care area in Klettsvik Bay, Iceland after being out of the sea since 2011. 

On Friday, August 8, Little Grey and Little White, two beluga whales, were moved to an open sea sanctuary in Iceland’s Klettsvik Bay at about 12:30 local time. 

The open sea sanctuary is the first in the world for beluga whales, and Little Grey and Little White would be given a short time to get acquainted with their new environment. 

The Sea Life Trust team moves beluga whale Little Grey from a lorry to a tugboat during transfer to the bayside care pool in Klettsvik Bay in Iceland in June 2019 | Photo: Getty Images


When they do, the whales will be released into the wider sanctuary of the bay, which is located in Iceland’s Westman Islands. 

The Sea Life Trust announced that the whales successfully moved to their new abode and were accompanied on their journey by an expert team and independent veterinarians. 

The team said that after the 6,000-mile trip from a landside care facility in China to the sea, the whales were healthy and were feeding. The return to the sea is quite symbolic for Little Grey and Little White.

A whale swimming in the water. I Image: Pixabay


It was the first time that they have been in the sea since 2011 when they were taken from a whale research center in Russia. 

The whales’ return home also comes after years of captivity which is the fate of many whales worldwide.

After their move to the sea, experts will continue to assess the whales daily as they get used to their natural environment. Head of Sea Life Trust, Andy Bool expressed delight at the development. 

Two whales swimming together | Photo: Pexels


He said that the first stage of their move to the sea went smoothly and according to plan. Bool said it was his and the team’s hope that the whales would be released for the final time soon enough. 

Little Grey and Little White’s journey from the aquarium in China to the open sea began in June 2019. They were living in a temporary care facility and were gradually prepared for their voyage home. 

A whale swimming in the ocean | Photo: Pexels


The whales’ return home also comes after years of captivity which is the fate of many whales worldwide. It is on record that over 300 belugas are held captive today. It is a phenomenon that shortens their life span. 

Belugas are expected to live up to 60 years when in the open seas. That number is halved if they are held captive. Little Grey and Little White are now 12 years and are expected to live until their 40s. 

A whale swimming in the ocean | Photo: Pexels

The whales’ epic journey home, especially in these present times of the COVID-19 pandemic, marks the beginning of a new chapter and new adventures to come for them.