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Rescued Beluga Whales Return to the Open Ocean

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: August 10, 2020 1:30 pm

beluga sea life sanctuary

One of the belugas is lifted in a sling to be transported to the sea sanctuary.

Photo Credit: Sea Life Trust

Two beluga whales rescued from a Shanghai Aquarium are now just one step away from starting a new life in an open ocean sea pen. This new sanctuary is the first open ocean sanctuary for belugas and is operated by Sea Life Trust.

The belugas are known as Little Grey and Little White.

They were moved from the land side care facility near the sanctuary where they have lived since their transfer from Shanghai on August 7th. The move was successful and the pair are now adjusting to life in the open ocean in a bayside care pool adjacent to the main sanctuary pen.

Infographics showing the journey of the beluga whales. Click the image for a full size version.

Photo Credit: Sea Life Trust

Once they have acclimated to conditions outside and in the ocean they will be released in to the main pen. The sanctuary is located in Klettsvik Bay in the Westman Islands off the south coast of Iceland.

Their arrival at these sea pens is the first time Little Grey and Little white have been in the ocean since their capture in 2011.

An expert team of keepers and an independent vet accompanied the pair on their journey. They report that they are healthy and already feeding well after the trip. This team will continue to monitor the belugas as they prepare to return to the ocean.

One of the belugas is released in to the pre-release pen

Photo Credit: Sea Life Trust

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.”

One of the beluga whales is lifted in a sling

Photo Credit: Sea Life Trust

The Sea Life Trust beluga whale sanctuary is the first open ocean sanctuary for belugas and is one of the most important developments in the care of whales and dolphins in decades.

It was established with a donation from Merlin entertainments in partnership with Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC).

Along with belugas the new sanctuary also houses a puffin rescue center which helps to rehabilitate and return rescued Atlantic puffins to the wild.

Learn more about the SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary on their website – SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary

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