Two former captive beluga whales, Little Grey and Little White, will move into the world’s first open water whale sanctuary in June, the SEA LIFE Trust has revealed this week.
The ground-breaking marine welfare project, located in a natural bay off the south coast of Iceland, has been created in partnership with wildlife charity Whale and Dolphin Conservation and is the first of its kind for cetaceans.
Twelve months ago, Little Grey and Little White travelled 6,000 miles by air, land and sea from an aquarium in China to start a new life in Iceland and have since been acclimatising and preparing for their return to a more natural habitat.
Andy Bool, Head of SEA LIFE Trust, said: “Little Grey and Little White have made amazing progress since arriving safely to the beluga whale sanctuary last year and we’re really pleased to say they are now ready to be moved into their new open water home.
“This is a complex marine welfare project and our care team of world-leading experts have always been led by the individual needs of Little Grey and Little White. With current lockdown measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic due to be eased in the coming weeks across Iceland, it’s right that we make the best decision for Little Grey and Little White and move them into their new home.
“We’ll continue to carefully monitor their health and well-being, as well as the ongoing situation and Icelandic weather closely, ahead of the planned move in June.”
The full story of the whales’ journey from China over the last year will be told by comedian and animal lover John Bishop in an exclusive, new ITV documentary to be shown later this year.
For further information about the SEA LIFE TRUST Beluga Whale Sanctuary visit www.sealifetrust.org.