Due to open in Spring 2019, The Beluga Whale Sanctuary is one of the biggest developments in captive whale and dolphin care and the first of its kind to be created for cetaceans.
The aim of the project is to encourage the rehabilitation of more captive whales into natural environments, and one day bring an end to whale and dolphin entertainment shows.
The first to be welcomed to the sanctuary will be 12 year old female beluga whales, Little Grey and Little White, who are currently located at Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai, China.
The two whales will travel 6,000-miles to a large sanctuary in a natural bay off the southern coast of Iceland, which was chosen to provide a more natural sub-Arctic environment for these amazing marine mammals.
SEALIFE Trust and all-cargo airline Cargolux have joined forces to help move the two belugas from China to Iceland in a specially branded plane which features Little Grey and Little White on a Boeing 747-400ERF freighter.
Andy Bool, Head of SEA LIFE Trust, said: “This is a complex but truly inspiring project to be working on and we are extremely grateful to Cargolux for their generosity in becoming our official transport partner and helping us move Little White and Little Grey to their new, more natural home. Cargolux has years of experience working on many of the most logistically intricate projects and their teams have been working with our animal care team, veterinarians and marine experts to ensure we provide the very best journey for Little Grey and Little White.”
Bool continues: “We have also been working with Little Grey and Little White for months preparing them for the journey which includes specialist equipment and bespoke stretchers as well as a whole host of leading animal experts who will work around-the-clock as the whales make the journey to their new home.”
Visitors will be able to learn more about Little White and Little Grey and the sanctuary in a landside visitor centre which will be completed in 2019. It will offer limited and discreet viewing of the whales and will be very carefully controlled to ensure the two whales will not be disturbed in their new and very natural environment.
For more information about the SEA LIFE TRUST Beluga Whale Sanctuary, visit www.sealifetrust.org.