2 Captive Belugas Secure a Flight to Their New Sanctuary Home

Last summer we celebrated a major milestone for captive cetaceans with an announcement that the first sea sanctuary for belugas would soon become a reality in Iceland. Now, the project’s supporters are making more progress towards that goal after securing a flight for its first two residents.

The sanctuary, which will be the first of its kind, will be located in a secluded bay on the island of Heimaey, off the southern coast of Iceland, and is being created through a partnership between Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) and SEA LIFE Trust.

The location in Klettsvik Bay, which measures up to 32,000 square meters with a depth of up to 10 meters, was chosen because it provides a plenty of space, along with a perfect natural sub-Arctic environment, and plenty of plants and wildlife for belugas to explore.

Two female belugas, known as Little Grey and Little White, who are currently living at the Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai, China, will be its first residents and are expected to arrive this spring.

Getting them there, however, is going to be a major undertaking, but the project’s backers have just announced a new partnership with Cargolux, a European airline, which is going to play a major role in transporting them to their new home.

“This is a complex but truly inspiring project to be working on and we are extremely grateful to Cargolux for their generosity in becoming our official transport partner and helping us move Little White and Little Grey to their new, more natural home. Cargolux has years of experience working on many  of the most logistically intricate projects and their teams have been working with our animal care team, veterinarians and marine experts to ensure we provide the very best journey for Little Grey and Little White,” said Andy Bool, Head of SEA LIFE Trust.

According to SEA LIFE Trust, the 6,000 mile journey, which will take them by land, air and sea, is expected to take 24 hours and is being carefully planned by a global team of experts on transporting marine mammals. As for Little Grey and Little White, the two are currently being prepared for the trip and will be placed in a special pool where they’ll be assessed following their arrival.

Hopefully all will go smoothly and the two will thrive in their new home, which is biggest and best developments yet for captive cetaceans that will help set a precedent for other facilities to follow that will help bring captivity to an end.

“Whales and dolphins are highly intelligent creatures and are not suited to being held in a small pool performing tricks. It is hoped that this project will help to encourage the rehabilitation of more captive whales into a more natural environment in the future, and one day bring an end to the use of whales and dolphins for human entertainment. We are hugely grateful to Cargolux for helping to make this a reality,” added Cathy Williamson, WDC policy manager.

For more updates on this project, check out SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary and Whale and Dolphin Conservation, or follow #WhaleHelloPlane #BelugaFlight on social media.

Photo credit: SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary

88 comments

Jacqueline GLYDE
Jacqueline G22 hours ago

They shouldn't have been taken from the wild in the first place.
Just hoping now that they make it safely,without stress

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Christine Stewart
Christine Syesterday

I hope they enjoy their new lives!

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Jen S
Jen Syesterday

What truly excellent news!

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Mia B
Mia B3 days ago

thanks very much

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Shae Lee
Shae Lee3 days ago

Thank you for sharing

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Leo C
Leo C3 days ago

Thank you for posting!

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Janis K
Janis K4 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Leo C
Leo C4 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Diane P
Diane P5 days ago

I agree that all wild animals belong in the wild. All wild animals that are in captivity now should be sent to sanctuaries. At least then they will be well cared for, not abused and will be able to spend the rest of their lives in peace!

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Michael F
Michael F5 days ago

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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