Two beluga whales, Little Grey, and Little White, are happy to be rescued from performing in China. The female whales, around 12 years old, were previously ʜᴇʟᴅ in ᴄᴀᴘᴛɪᴠɪᴛʏ at an aquarium in Shanghai, where they were ꜰᴏʀᴄᴇᴅ to perform for crowds. The moment the two adorable creatures realize they’re about to taste freedom is beautiful to behold, and the smile on their faces says it all.
It Took Tons Of Hard Work, Kindness, And, More Than Anything – Dedication – To Rescue A Pair Of Beluga Whales
The two belugas have been ꜰᴏʀᴄᴇᴅ to perform in animal shows for over nine years. Unfortunately, the two had a ᴛᴏᴜɢʜ life since they were very young. In 2011 they were brought to the Ocean World in Shanghai, China, from a research center in Russia, and ever since, they have ʟɪᴠᴇᴅ in ᴄᴀᴘᴛɪᴠɪᴛʏ.
After so many years, these two lovely creatures finally have the chance to taste freedom. The charity Sea Life Trust led the rescue effort in partnership with Merlin Entertainments, which owns the Shanghai Aquarium.
The decision to release the whales was made after years of campaigning by animal welfare groups and ᴄᴏɴᴄᴇʀɴs over the conditions in which they were ʙᴇɪɴɢ ᴋᴇᴘᴛ.
The whales were recently flown over 6,000 miles to their new home in Iceland, where they were released into a specially-built sanctuary in the ocean.
The sanctuary, located in a sᴇᴄʟᴜᴅᴇᴅ bay on the island of Heimaey, offers the whales a much more natural environment than their previous home in China.
A Specially-Built Sanctuary In The Ocean
The new sanctuary in Iceland provides the whales with a much larger area to explore and swim in and the opportunity to socialize with other belugas. Nᴇᴛs have ᴇɴᴄʟᴏsᴇᴅ the area to ᴘʀᴇᴠᴇɴᴛ the whales from ᴇsᴄᴀᴘɪɴɢ, and it is constantly monitored to ensure their safety.
“We’re delighted … 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 wider open water home,” Andy Bool, head of Sea Life Trust, said a statement.
“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.”
The release of Little Grey and Little White into the sanctuary is a significant step forward for the welfare of beluga whales in ᴄᴀᴘᴛɪᴠɪᴛʏ.
It shows that giving these intelligent and sᴇɴsɪᴛɪᴠᴇ animals the care and respect they deserve, rather than ᴇxᴘʟᴏɪᴛɪɴɢ them for human entertainment, is possible.