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After Being Rescued In China, Beluga Whales Can’t Stop Smiling

Relocating captive animals is tough and time-consuming, but transporting two beluga whales to another continent in the midst of a pandemic is much more challenging. Despite this, these two whales, known as Little Gray and Little White, were freed from captivity and sent to Iceland as part of a two-year relocation effort.

The creatures were rescued from Shanghai, China’s Ocean World water park. Both whales were captured as juveniles off the coast of Russia and sent to a Chinese aquarium in 2011.

Beluga whales were released into the wild.

They were relocated to the Beluga Whale Refuge, the world’s first open water sanctuary, by the Sea Life Trust organization.

Despite the fact that it was a 6,000-mile travel, everything was meticulously planned by the organization and executed flawlessly. For the first time in over a decade, these animals will be able to feel the seawater on their skin.

Both 12-year-old creatures arrived safely in Klettsvik Bay, according to the group, and it will only be a matter of time before they are released into the open water region.

Audrey Padgett, the Sanctuary’s general manager, told CNN:

«It’s been a long road for these two. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been a labor of love.

After Merlin Entertainments purchased the aquarium, the notion of relocating the whales arose, as the business is opposed to keeping the creatures in captivity. This is how the ideal way to carry the two females, who each weigh over 4,000 pounds and eat 110 pounds of fish every day, was devised.

The procedure needed specially constructed transportation equipment, veterinarians, and plenty of ice and water to keep them cool.

The whales were placed in customized slings with foam matting designed to fit their bodies for the voyage to Iceland. All in the name of absorbing the shocks of the convoluted voyage, which included a truck, a Boeing cargo aircraft, and a port tug.

The crew in charge had actually done many exercises with the animals before going on the trip, so they were acclimated to mobility.

The delight of both whales could be seen during the voyage, as all they did was smile and play games with their rescuers.

Little Gray was characterized by the crew as lively and naughty, having a habit for spitting water on everyone. Little White, on the other hand, is more quiet and peaceful, although she has developed strong relationships with the carers and continues to play with them.

After all the process and despite the complications that were experienced due to the pandemic; finally both whales reached their destination safely.

The director of the Sea Life Trust, Andy Bool, told the Daily Mail:

“We are overjoyed to be able to report that Little Gray and Little White are doing well in their marine sanctuary care pools and are just one step away from being released into their natural habitat.”

Andy continued:

“After extensive planning and rehearsals, the first leg of her return to the ocean was as smooth as we hoped and planned.”

It should be emphasized that this operation was made possible by a significant gift from the aquarium’s owner to the charity. Both cetaceans’ journey is not yet complete, as they will spend several days in the pools to acclimate to Iceland’s frigid temperature.

They will be released when they are ready, prepared, and acclimatized so that they may enjoy their new home.

Thanks to everyone, Little Gray and Little White have progressed from performing stunts to living lives that they truly deserve.