Two Beluga whales who have spent their entire lives in a Chinese aquarium will be flown all the way to Iceland to live in a brand new whale sanctuary in a coastal inlet.
Belugas are the best. Why? Because they not only have that slightly upturned mouth that makes them look like they’re permanently smiling, but they also have necks. That means a Beluga can turn its head (slightly) to look at you without needing to maneuver its entire body like other whales and dolphins.
They’re also extraordinarily intelligent and social, and therefore should never live their lives cooped up in a tiny fish tank.
That’s why the Sea Life Trust will be flying a pair of Belugas from a Chinese aquarium all the way to a brand new whale sanctuary they’ve opened in Iceland.
The whales in question are Little Grey and Little White -two twelve-year-old Belugas that were captured in the wild at a very young age. They’ve spent their entire lives at Changfeng Ocean World aquarium in Shanghai having never really known what it’s like to be out in the open ocean.
When Chengfeng was acquired by Merlin Entertainment in 2012, it was decided that they’d retire Little Grey and Little White, but finding a place for them to go proved difficult. They couldn’t just be released back into the wild as they’d never developed the skills needed for hunting or protecting themselves from predators.
What they needed was a place where they could have a measure of freedom but still remain under the supervision of some protective and nurturing people. That’s where Britain's Sea Life Trust comes in.
Sea Life Trust has made it their mission to protect marine life all around the world. They own and operate several marine wildlife sanctuaries, and their newest one just so happens to be a whale sanctuary located in a natural bay at Heimaey Island, off the coast of Southern Iceland.
This bay is both the perfect size and temperature to house two Belugas. The only problem would be getting them all the way from China to Iceland.
According to The Times of London, Little Grey and Little White are set to begin their journey in a matter of weeks. Before then, handlers in Chengfeng are preparing them for the trip of their lives, where they will take land, sea, and air to make it to their new home in Iceland.
If all goes according to plan, Little Grey and Little White will be the first new residents of Sea Life Trust’s Beluga whale sanctuary.