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Two Beluga Whales Are Rescued From Performing As Show Animals In Chinese Aquarium

Two Beluga Whales Are Rescued From Performing As Show Animals In Chinese Aquarium

The SEA LIFE Trust has confirmed that two beluga whales have been safely rehomed in their new sea sanctuary after almost 10 years out of the ocean.

Little Grey and Little White have been in captivity for most of their lives, having spent nearly a decade at an aquarium in China, where they were trained to perform tricks to live audiences. Prior to that, they were held at a Russian research centre.

Now, the beautiful 12-year-old whales have been safely rehomed at Klettsvik Bay in Iceland.

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In photographs of the transfer - which took place on Friday - the whales can be seen being transported into the water via a special sling - and they look over the moon about their new residence!

They will need a short period of time to acclimatise to their new natural environment before they are released into the wider sanctuary at Klettsvik Bay, but so far the pair are feeding well and seem to be making great progress.

The whales were transported in special slings (Credit: PA)
The whales were transported in special slings (Credit: PA)

They will now be assessed around the clock to make sure they're settling in safely.

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The beluga whales travelled 6,000 miles to their new home, including a 12-hour flight, after the SEA LIFE trust rescued them last year.

But the team made sure they had the safest journey possible. They were carefully transferred into the water in specially designed slings with custom foam matting for cushioning.

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It's the first time the whales have been in the ocean for nearly a decade (Credit: PA)
It's the first time the whales have been in the ocean for nearly a decade (Credit: PA)

The whales were kept cool and damp using misters throughout and the care team were with them during the entire process.

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After reaching the bay, the whales were released into their sea sanctuary care pools - this allows for monitoring and veterinary care during the acclimatisation period.

Andy Bool, Head of SEA LIFE Trust, said: "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.

The 12-year-old whales are named Little Grey and Little White (Credit: PA)
The 12-year-old whales are named Little Grey and Little White (Credit: PA)

"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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"We are carefully monitoring Little Grey and Little White with our expert care team and veterinarians and hope to announce their final release very soon."

This is such brilliant news - we hope these beautiful whales have the happiest of futures.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Life News, Animals

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Lucy Devine

Lucy is a journalist working for Tyla. After graduating with a master's degree in journalism, she has worked in both print and online and is particularly interested in fashion, food, health and women's issues. Northerner, coffee addict, says hun a lot. Get in touch at [email protected]