Beluga sanctuary is the first in the world to repatriate mammals kept in captivity – World News

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It is hoped that the Sea Life Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary in Iceland will help end whale and dolphin captivity for entertainment purposes.

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The world’s first open water sanctuary created for beluga whales

The world’s first beluga sanctuary is being created to repatriate mammals kept in captivity.

Two females called Little Gray and Little White will be the first residents of the wildlife refuge when they are transported from the Chinese aquarium in which they have been locked since 2011.

It is hoped that the Sea Life Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary in Iceland will help end whale and dolphin captivity for entertainment purposes.

The head of the Trust, Andy Bool, said: “We are excited to innovate in marine animal welfare. This project is a pioneering solution on how the aquarium industry can reshape the future of captive whales.







Little White will be transported with Little Gray
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“We believe that providing a more natural habitat for Little Gray and Little White to dive in cool waters and interact with the natural environment will dramatically improve their quality of life.”

The sanctuary is set up in partnership with Whale and Dolphin Conservation in a bay on Heimaey Island, off the south coast of Iceland.







Little White and Little Gray perform during a show at Ocean World
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Coach feeds Little Gray and Little White at Ocean World
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It will be like a more natural home for the couple than in the aquarium. WDC Director General Chris Butler-Stroud said: “We hope this creates a plan for more such sanctuaries for beluga whales and other captive whales and dolphins, which are desperately needed to deal with the risks that captivity puts a strain on their health and well-being. “

Little Gray and Little White, both 12, will be leaving Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai for the shrine next spring.







A test is carried out to see how long Little Gray can hold his breath in Ocean World
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The duo perform during a show
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They will complete the 6,000-mile journey by air, land and sea and undergo training to get them used to the equipment that will carry them.

The sanctuary, supported by a donation from Merlin Entertainments, will feature a natural sea inlet and include a health center and visitor center to help offset long-term operating costs.







Little white plays
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Little White is measured for its transport crate
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But the Sea Life Trust insisted it “will be very carefully monitored to ensure the whales are not disturbed in their new, very natural environment.”

It is hoped that more captive belugas will be taken to the sanctuary. But there are no plans to house dolphins.

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