Apple News Facebook Twitter 新浪微博 Instagram YouTube Friday, Mar 1, 2019

Beluga whales in Shanghai aquarium head for sanctuary in Iceland

(People's Daily Overseas New Media)    13:57, March 01, 2019

Two beluga whales perform for humans for the last time. (Photo: Global Times)

Two beluga whales living in a Shanghai aquarium set off on a 9,000-plus-kilometer journey in spring to a secluded bay in Iceland, where they will live in a sanctuary billed as the first of its kind for cetaceans.

Known as “Little Grey” and “Little White,” the two female whales, both 12 years old, will travel in spring from Chengfeng Ocean World in Shanghai to a secluded bay in Klettsvik Bay on Heimaey Island off Iceland’s southern coast, which is the world’s first open-sea beluga whale sanctuary.

The secluded bay will be the world’s first open-water sanctuary for beluga whales. Measuring 32,000 square meters with a depth of up to 10 meters, it was chosen to provide a more natural sub-Arctic environment and wild habitat for the whales.

The pair, which originated in Russia and have spent most of their lives in captivity, have been receiving training for the upcoming relocation, as they will be travel by air, land, and sea during the 9,223-kilometer (30-hour-plus) journey before finally arriving in Iceland. They’ve also been allowed to gain a little extra weight during the training to help them survive in the relatively colder environment.

Cargolux Airlines International will join forces with Sea Life Trust to relocate the whales from China to Iceland. The airline company has revealed pictures of the specially-customized plane, which has images of “Little Grey” and “Little White” painted on its body.

Many Shanghai residents went to the aquarium to say goodbye to the pair and expressed their support for the relocation.

The move of the two beluga whales also came amid rising awareness among the Chinese public about the negative effects of animal performances in recent years.

More than 3,000 whales, dolphins, and porpoises are held in captivity around the world.

The sanctuary, which was created in partnership with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation, is the first of its kind for cetaceans. Environmental campaigners hope the move will encourage the rehabilitation of more captive whales in natural environments, said Sea Life Trust, a charitable organization established by Merlin Entertainments Group that is dedicated to the protection of oceans and marine life.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Yang Yang, Liang Jun)

Add your comment

We Recommend

Most Read

Key Words