Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Fundraising
  • Green Whale
  • Kids blogs
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
We need whale poo 📷 WDC NA

Whales are our climate allies – meet the scientists busy proving it

At Whale and Dolphin Conservation, we're working hard to bring whales and the ocean into...
Humpback whale underwater

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
Black Sea common dolphins © Elena Gladilina

The dolphin and porpoise casualties of the war in Ukraine

Rare, threatened subspecies of dolphins and porpoises live in the Black Sea along Ukraine's coast....
WDC's Ed Fox, Chris Butler-Stroud and Carla Boreham take a message from the ocean to parliament

Taking a message from the ocean to parliament

It's a sad fact that whales and dolphins don't vote in human elections, but I...
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Tokitae in captivity

Talking to TUI – will they stop supporting whale and dolphin captivity?

Last Thursday I travelled to Berlin for a long-anticipated meeting with TUI senior executives. I...

Earth Day Q&A with Waipapa Bay Wines’ marketing director, Fran Draper

We've been partnered with Waipapa Bay Wines since 2019 so for this year's Earth Day,...

Update on plans to release the beluga whales at Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai

WDC can reveal that it is in advanced discussions with Merlin Entertainments regarding the future of the three belugas (also known as beluga whales) held at the Merlin facility in Shanghai, China.

Despite recent publicity, sensitive discussion and planning regarding the future of these belugas has been on-going between WDC and Merlin for many months. The ideal scenario for WDC would involve their release back into the wild or, at the very least, placement in a sea sanctuary where the belugas can live out the rest of their lives in a more natural environment.

It’s Important!

WDC is committed to securing the best possible outcome for these belugas and it is their long-term welfare that is paramount

It’s complicated!

This is not a simple issue to solve and is one that cannot be rushed without placing the welfare of the belugas in jeopardy. As previously stated, the removal of these belugas from their current location, and possible placement back into the wild is a hugely complex logistical operation.

Firstly, the three belugas cannot simply be airlifted out of Shanghai and dropped into an ocean.

Any whale or dolphin held for a length of time in captivity has to be assessed by an expert team to ascertain how suitable they are for transportation and release back into the wild. Assessments also need to be made on suitable locations for release, in areas where the whale or dolphin in question would naturally be found and preferably in an area with minimal threat to their continued survival and where there is a possibility that they could re-join a suitable natural population.

A team of appropriate experts needs to be brought together to handle such a transfer and other logistics need to be worked out in detail, in relation to transportation, official approval from the local, national and international authorities concerned, and securing the many hundreds of thousands of pounds of funds needed to finance this complicated process.

What next?

WDC would like to reiterate the sensitive and complex nature of discussions that are on-going and which will involve all the parties mentioned above. We are at a critical phase in these discussions and will issue further information as soon as it is feasible to do so. Your co-operation and understanding is appreciated at this time.

 View as pdf

About Julia Pix

Communications manager - Public Engagement