Beluga whales rescued from captivity rehomed in refuge

Beluga whales rescued from captivity in China given new home in ocean refuge

Read Time:   |  11th August 2020

Two beluga whales have been freed from captivity in a Chinese aquarium to swim in the sea for the first time in nearly a decade

A pair of beluga whales have been given a new lease of life and a chance to enjoy swimming in the ocean after they were rescued from an aquarium in China.

Little Grey and Little White have spent nearly a decade living in captivity, first at a Russian research centre before being moved to Chengfeng Ocean World in Shanghai where they were forced to perform tricks and shows to audiences in exchange for fish before being rescued.

The whales were rescued by UK-based charity Sea Life Trust and flown 6,000 miles to Iceland where they will be able to live out the rest of their days in the world’s first open-water sanctuary for belugas, Klettsvik Bay, in the Westman Islands off the south coast of Iceland.

‘New natural environment’

Sea Life Trust said in a statement: “Little Grey and Little White are now in their bayside care pool and will need a short period of time to acclimatise to their new natural environment and all the outdoor elements before their final release into the wider sanctuary in Klettsvik Bay in the Westman Islands off the south coast of Iceland.

“The expert team and the independent vets were with Little Grey and Little White throughout the move and said they are healthy and are feeding after the short trip from their landside care facility back to the sea.”

‘Open water home’

Sea Life Trust head Andy Bool added: “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.

“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.

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