Two beluga whales captured from the sea almost ten years ago are being returned to the ocean.
Little Gray and Little White are now being cared for in the world’s first open water sanctuary for belugas in Iceland.
It is the first time the belugas have been at sea since they were captured by a Russian whale research center in 2011 and then taken to a water park in China.
Little Gray and Little White are now in a care group and need time to get used to their new surroundings before being released into a larger sanctuary in Klettsvik Bay, on the country’s south coast.
The animals were moved by trucks and tugboats, transported in specially designed slings with foam mats so the whales were comfortable during transport.
Sea Life Trust team moves beluga whale Little Gray from truck to tugboat
Experts were with Little Gray and Little White to make sure they ate properly and stayed healthy during their trip.
Little Gray is said to be “very playful” but also has a mischievous side, spitting water at her care team.
Meanwhile, Little White is “much more reserved but still likes to play and forms close bonds with her caregivers.”
Belugas made the trip from China to Iceland last year
The Sea Life Trust, which cares for the animals, said it was delighted to confirm that the whales are safe at home and getting to know their new surroundings in the care area in Klettsvik Bay.
Andy Bool, director of the Trust, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be able to share the news that Little Gray and Little White are safe in their marine sanctuary care pools and are just a step away from being released into its open waters.” . home.
“After extensive planning and rehearsals, the first stage of their return to the ocean went as smoothly as we hoped and planned.
“We are carefully monitoring Little Gray and Little White with our expert care team and veterinarians and hope to announce their final release very soon.”
There are around 200,000 beluga whales in the wild, they are a distinctive white color and only grow up to 4 meters long, about twice the height of an adult man.