Beluga whales have long been removed from their natural ocean habitats and forced into captivity for the sole purpose of human profit and entertainment. But like recent documentaries such as The handle and Black fish shed light on the many issues with exhibiting these gentle giants in closed tanks, public awareness of the issue has grown, and many efforts to stop the madness have been launched.
An awesome project designed to help reverse what humans have done to marine animals is currently underway in Iceland. Over the past six years, the Sea Life Trust, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the world’s oceans and the precious aquatic creatures that inhabit them, have devised a plan to open the world’s first deep-sea sanctuary for beluga whales.
Next spring, the conservation charity will officially establish the whale sanctuary they worked so hard to create. The first residents of the historic sanctuary will be two female beluga whales, Little White and Little Gray. These immense beauties will travel over 6,000 miles from the Chinese Aquarium where they currently live to a new home that will be much more accommodating to them: a natural bay just off the coast of southern Iceland.
Although the journey is long and involves travel by water, air and land, something tells us that the journey will be worth it. After all, it will bring these whales back to a place where they will have plenty of room to swim and live the happy, carefree life they were meant to be.
Since being held captive, these creatures will continue to depend on humans for the rest of their lives, meaning they could never survive in the wild again. With this in mind, they will be limited to an enclosure of 32,000 square meters for their own well-being. While not ideal for beluga whales, who once had complete freedom to swim anywhere they liked, it is certainly a much better fate for them than continuing to play for aquarium visitors in a aquarium too small.
According to the Sea Life Trust website, its beluga sanctuary in Iceland will be “one of the greatest developments in the care and protection of captive whales and dolphins in decades.” In addition, the organization is optimistic that the project “will help encourage the rehabilitation of more captive whales in natural environments in the future and will one day end whale and dolphin entertainment shows.” . We would say this is definitely a worthy cause!
If you would like to support the Sea Life Trust in their efforts to create a sanctuary where whales can thrive, consider donating all you can to this incredible charity. Every penny counts to help secure a brighter future for Little Gray, Little White and the countless other whales that have been used for human good for too long!
Image source: Flickr