Little Grey and Little White are two very lucky whales. The pair of 12 year old females have been living in a Shanghai aquarium for entertainment for years, but now they are headed towards retirement. Instead of slowly dying inside their enclosure, they are being transported to a marine sanctuary in Iceland to live out their days.
Each whale weighs around 2,000 pounds and will be flown to Iceland in special containers. The project has been spearheaded by the Sea Life Trust charity. The charity strives to “provide a more natural sub-Arctic environment and wilder habitat for these amazing whales to call home.”
Releasing animals in captivity into the wild is typically not a good idea. Usually captive animals have become dependent on humans for their food. Without the skills to hunt for themselves, they can starve to death in the wild. However, this new concept of marine sanctuaries may be the best possible solution.
The head of Sea Life Trust, Andy Bool, says, “we have been working with Little White and Little Grey for the last 18 months to make sure that they will be prepared and ready for the long journey.” Once in their new pen of 32,000 square meters, the belugas will be cared for to ensure their survival in the semi-wild.