Two Beluga Whales finally return to the open sea after spending years in captivity. Little Grey and Little White were captured in Russia when they were only a year old. Later, they were sold to Changfeng Ocean World, an aquarium in Shanghai, China.
Finally, thanks to the tremendous work by the British charity the Sea Life Trust, the whales arrived to their new home on August 8. The two adorable whales have been transported to a sanctuary in Klettsvik Bay in Iceland where they will be free to swim in the sea.
The beluga whales looked extremely happy during their transit to the sanctuary. Their mouth was open in a full smile while being carried.
Andy Bool, the Head of SEA LIFE Trust, said in a recent statement, “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 wider open water home.”
Further adding, “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. 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.”
Before the whales are released, however, they will be trained to handle the colder North Atlantic waters. It is important to prepare them and train them before they are freed into the open water sanctuary.
The beluga whales have spent all their 12 years together, but have very different personalities. Little Grey “is a very playful whale. She is always curious and willing to learn new things. She also has a mischievous side to her personality and likes to spit water at her care team”. While, “Little White is a shy whale. She’s much more reserved than Little Grey but still likes to play and forms close bonds with her carers.”
Iker Wang, Head Trainer at Chengfeng Ocean World in Shanghai, also said, “I started working with Little Grey and Little White seven years ago after joining Changfeng Ocean World. I love my job because I enjoy the interaction and special bond that is formed between the whales and their carers. The belugas have individual personalities just like us. While Little White is quite cautious and quieter, Little Grey is the opposite. She is brave and craves attention.”
Wang also mentioned, “I love working with the belugas every day and of course have mixed feelings, like the rest of the team, about saying goodbye to Little Grey and Little White. We’ll be sad to see them leave. But we understand that they come from nature, so this project is allowing them to go back home. We all feel happy for Little Grey and Little White. And I’m proud to be involved in what is an unprecedented global project.”
We’re all extremely happy for Little Grey and Little White! Donate to the Sea Life Trust here.