Advert

Two Beluga Whales Saved From Chinese Aquarium Have First Swim In New Sanctuary Home

Published 
| Last updated 

Two Beluga Whales Saved From Chinese Aquarium Have First Swim In New Sanctuary Home

Remember Little Grey and Little White, the two gorgeous beluga whales who were rescued by the SEA LIFE Trust and rehomed in a new sea sanctuary at Klettsvik Bay in Iceland?

Well, the pair had to wait a little to acclimatise to their new natural environment before they were released into the wider sanctuary, but they've now finally taken their first swim in their new open water home.

You can watch the video of this amazing experience here:

Loading…

Advert

Carefully monitored by the whales' expert care team, Little Grey and Little White were released for the first time to fully explore the natural surroundings of the wider sanctuary at Klettsvik Bay on Heimaey, one of the Westman Islands off the south coast of Iceland.

The whales have been making good progress since moving to their bayside care pools in August and Little Grey and Little White's first swim out in the wider bay is part of a carefully managed welfare programme to help introduce the whales gradually into their much larger sanctuary home.

Little White & Little Grey take their first swim in their Beluga Whale Sanctuary home in Iceland (Credit: SEA LIFE Trust)
Little White & Little Grey take their first swim in their Beluga Whale Sanctuary home in Iceland (Credit: SEA LIFE Trust)

The poor whales had been held in captivity most of their lives before being rescued, having spent nearly a decade at an aquarium in China where they were trained to perform tricks to live audiences. Before that, they were held at a Russian research centre.

Advert

Thankfully the BFFs are now living their best lives out in Iceland, and led by their expert care team, the whales continue to be introduced to the bay (which is approximately 32,000 sqm with a depth of up to 10m, or the size of 17 tennis courts) and return to the sea sanctuary care pools over a short period of time while their health and well-being is assessed and monitored on a daily basis.

The whales were rescued from a life in captivity (Credit: PA)
The whales were rescued from a life in captivity (Credit: PA)

"We are introducing them gradually to the bay in little steps, but seeing them swim together and deep dive amongst the flora and fauna of the wider bay for the first time was amazing to witness and gave us a real sense that Little Grey and Little White are enjoying being back in the sea."

Cathy Williamson, WDC's End Captivity programme lead added: "We're delighted that Little Grey and Little White are now exploring the wider bay and adapting well to their new, natural, stimulating environment.

Advert

"WDC has been on this journey with Merlin Entertainments and the SEA LIFE Trust from the beginning and we are truly honoured to be a partner to the world's first whale sanctuary.

The team behind the Beluga Whale Sanctuary (Credit: PA)
The team behind the Beluga Whale Sanctuary (Credit: PA)

"As well as providing an exciting home for Little Grey and Little White, we look forward to welcoming other belugas here and encouraging the development of sanctuaries in other parts of the world."

Williamson continues: "We hope this will mean that many of the more than 3,500 whales and dolphins held in captivity for shows and swim with attractions can be brought to sanctuaries to live more natural lives or be rehabilitated for a return to the wild."

Advert

The Beluga Whale Sanctuary, operated by charity the SEA LIFE Trust, is the first of its kind and was built with the support of a generous donation from Merlin Entertainments.

Little White & Little Grey enjoying their new home (Credit: Matt Parsons)
Little White & Little Grey enjoying their new home (Credit: Matt Parsons)

If you'd like to know more, Little Grey and Little White's amazing journey back to the ocean will be told as part of a new two-part feature length documentary to be shown on ITV this October over consecutive nights.

We'll definitely tune into that one.

Advert

We're so happy for the pair!

Featured Image Credit: Matt Parsons

Topics: Life News, Real, Animals

Naomi Chadderton (FL)
More like this
Advert
Advert
Advert

Chosen for YouChosen for You

Life

Women Are Loving This Hot Water Bottle Pouch

3 days ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

Life

Women Are Loving This Hot Water Bottle Pouch

3 days ago