World’s first beluga sanctuary to welcome newcomers to Iceland


Two belugas will move from an aquarium in China to an isolated bay in Iceland next year, where they will live in a sanctuary billed as the first of its kind for cetaceans, the SEA LIFE Trust charity announced on Tuesday.

Little Gray and Little White will make the 5,000-mile journey by land, air and sea next spring to Heimaey, an island off southern Iceland, in a move environmental activists hope to enable more captive whales to be reintroduced to their natural habitats.

The SEA LIFE Trust, which is working on the project with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) charity, said the cove at Klettsvik Bay, measuring up to 32,000 square meters, was chosen to provide an environment more natural subarctic and wild habitat. for whales.

The two 12-year-old female belugas currently live at Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai, owned by Merlin Entertainments. Their new home, the SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary, will also have a care facility and reception center.

“This is a world first. This is the first time anyone has built a whale sanctuary like this,” Andy Bool, director of the SEA LIFE Trust, told Reuters.

World’s first beluga sanctuary to welcome newcomers to Iceland

The world’s first beluga sanctuary, the SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary in Iceland, will house two 12-year-old female beluga whales, Little Gray and Little White, who currently live at Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai, China. 4:55

“It’s really important to Little White and Little Gray, giving them a more natural home in which to live the rest of their lives.”

Both whales are trained for the long journey as well as for the cool waters of the North Atlantic with fast swims to build strength and exercises to hold their breath underwater for longer. They eat more calories and are also introduced to stretchers that will be used for the trip.

Campaigners hope the sanctuary will encourage recreation parks to release whales and dolphins in more natural environments.

“We believe this will prompt other facilities to move their beluga whales and other whales and dolphins to sanctuaries in other parts of the world,” said Cathy Williamson, WDC captivity campaign manager.

The new beluga home, the inlet of Klettsvik Bay, spans 32,000 square meters. (Reuter)


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