Environment

Beluga whales taste freedom for first time in a decade as they’re saved from captivity

Like a real-life Finding Nemo expedition, the belugas travelled by land, sea and even air.

If you hadn’t already guessed, we’re pretty keen on a good wildlife story over at Uspire.

And this one has totally captured out hearts.

Two majestic beluga whales, named Little White and Little Grey, who were confined to a life of captivity have been rescued and released into an open-water sanctuary.

The aquatic mammals, both 12-years-old, were transported 6,000 miles from their captive home in Shanghai, China to taste freedom in Iceland’s Westman Islands.

Reminiscent of a Finding Nemo expedition, the belugas had a mammoth trip as they travelled by land, sea and even air.

[Credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire/Sea Life Trust]

Iceland, a Nordic country in the North Atlantic, is home to the world’s first open-water sanctuary for beluga whales in a ground-breaking global marine welfare project.

The brainchild of conservation charity Sea Life, the epic move has been six years in the making, with the female belugas currently acclimatising to their new environment before their final release into the wider sanctuary off the south coast of the country.

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Speaking about the mission, head of Sea Life Trust, Andy Bool, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to share the news that Little Grey and Little White are safely in their sea sanctuary care pools and just one step away from being released into their open 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.”

[Credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire/Sea Life Trust]

The belugas new home is their first time in the sea for nearly a decade, after they were taken from a whale research centre in 2011.

Just last year, a beluga made headlines in the UK when it found its way to Kent.

Named Benny, the whale was spotted living in the Thames for three months with mass sightings in Gravesend before experts believe he swam back to his natural habitats.

Beluga whales tend to inhabit the Arctic and subarctic regions of Russia, Greenland, and North America, so sadly not quite right as a pet if you happen to have a big pond.

[Credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire/Sea Life Trust]

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