Growing up, we may have visited marine entertainment places such as SeaWorld. As kids, we were probably in awe of these giant whales. However, in recent years, because of eye-opening documentaries like Blackfish or The Cove, we’ve been forced to re-evaluate the ramifications of marine animals living in captivity.
There has been more and more global interest in preserving marine life, as well as rescuing exploited marine mammals from sad lives in captivity. And that was the lucky break that happened for Little Grey and Little White, two beluga whales who were living at Ocean World in Shanghai. The two whales were being forced to perform tricks for fish. Prior to their performance days, these two were living in a Russian research center. However, those days are well behind them now because they’ve been moved to the world’s first open water sanctuary.
Thanks to Sea Life Trust, a charity based in the UK, these beluga whales are experiencing a life of freedom in open waters for the very first time in years! Sea Life Trust had posted on Facebook that the whales had been rescued back in July, however, their release was delayed for a bit while they recovered from bacterial infections.
According to the Daily Mail, the pair of whales were moved to Iceland where the sanctuary is located. The manager for Sea Life Trust, Audrey Padgett, stated that it was a completely time-consuming effort, but in the end, it was entirely worth it to see both whales finally experience freedom.
It took a lot to get them to their new home. During their journey, the whales had to travel by truck, followed by a Boeing 747-400ERF cargo aircraft, and finally, the last leg of their trip was made by a tugboat.
Sea Life Trust is hoping that Little Grey and Little White’s experience will prompt other sea parks to consider allowing their whales to make the transition to a more natural setting. And the best thing about their journey was that the whales looked absolutely delighted with the transition.
We wish them the best in their new life!
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.