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BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY UPDATE: Little Grey and Little White arrive safely after move to bay care area

Beluga whales in sanctuary.

We can now confirm that two beluga whales, Little Grey and Little White, are now safely in their new sea sanctuary care area at Klettsvik Bay in Iceland.

Watch the whales exploring the sanctuary

The moving of the whales into the world’s first open water sanctuary for belugas, was completed on Friday 7th August at 12:30pm Icelandic time.

Little Grey and Little White are now in their bayside care pool and will need a short period of time to acclimatise to their new natural environment and all the outdoor elements before their final release into the wider sanctuary in Klettsvik Bay in the Westman Islands off the south coast of Iceland.

The expert team and the independent vets were with Little Grey and Little White throughout the move and said they are healthy and are feeding well after the short trip from their landside care facility back to the sea.

This is the first time Little Grey and Little White have been in the sea since they were taken from a Russian whale research centre in 2011.

Little Grey and Little White will now be assessed around the clock as they get used to being back in the ocean environment.

Andy Bool, Head of SEA LIFE Trust, said: ‘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 open water home.

‘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.’

Rob Lott, WDC’s end captivity campaigner said: ‘Little White and Little Grey were taken from the wild when they were very young so Friday was a big day for them (and all of us) as they got to experience the ocean for the first time in their adult lives. These robust, healthy, energetic whales can now look forward to a brighter future as this ground-breaking, welfare project finally enters the home straight.’

The Sanctuary, operated by charity the SEA LIFE Trust and which is the first of its kind, was built with the support of a generous donation from Merlin Entertainments. Created in partnership with Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), the SEA LIFE TRUST Beluga Whale Sanctuary is one of the biggest developments in captive whale and dolphin care and protection in decades and the first of its kind to be created for cetaceans.

As well as helping to establish the world’s first beluga whale sanctuary in Iceland with The SEA LIFE Trust , WDC is also working in partnership with other sanctuary projects. It is hoped these initiatives will help to encourage the rehabilitation of more captive whales and dolphins into natural environments around the world, and one day help to bring an end to whale and dolphin entertainment shows.

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6 Comments

  1. Avatar Wyn McLean on 22nd August 2020 at 7:09 am

    Thanks for this heart-warming, smile-making news, especially now when life for animals does not look so good, Congratulations and best wishes for the continued success of this project. Wyn McLean

  2. Avatar Phil Sanderson on 14th October 2020 at 9:18 am

    Very good to watch during this time of general doom and gloom!
    One question though – what are Little White and Little Grey eating?

    • George Berry George Berry on 16th October 2020 at 10:19 am

      Hi Phil, the answer is anything that comes into the bay that they fancy eating. At the moment it is flounder.

  3. Avatar Virginia Woollett on 14th October 2020 at 10:28 am

    I have been in tears over these two beautiful sensitive creatures and the kindness man has shown to them finally. We need to educate, highlight and shame how intelligent they are and how cruel and inhumane it is to steal them from their natural habitats. We must put an end to these centres and shows that masquerade as animal welfare centres. The only way they should be researched is in the sea.

    Well done, lets hope this is the start to more sanctuaries and an end to captivity.

  4. Avatar ANTHEA DAY on 14th October 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Thank you for the wonderful work you are doing. Watching these two intelligent, gentle and affectionate young mammals on their journey back to the ocean was inspirational to say the least. I cried for their ‘lost life’ but am heartened that they will live out the rest of their days in as near to a natural environment as has been created for them, and that their years of captivity and humanisation will allow for. I applaud you all. Anthea Day

  5. Avatar Kate Salter on 18th October 2020 at 9:11 pm

    Just amazing, well done to everyone involved in this project. They have captured hearts with their trusting friendliness, at at long last will have some quality of life in a near natural environment. Thank you to everyone who helped get them to the sanctuary ❤️❤️

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