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.
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 operation needed specially constructed transportation equipment, veterinarians, and lots of ice and water to keep the animals cool.
The whales were placed in customized slings with foam matting designed to fit their bodies for the voyage to Iceland. All of this was done to soften the impacts of the convoluted voyage, which included a truck, a Boeing cargo jet, and a port tug.
The animals had previously been through many drills with the crew in charge before leaving on the journey, 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 penchant 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 going through the whole procedure and overcoming the challenges posed by the epidemic, both whales arrived at 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 went on to say:
“The first leg of her return to the ocean went as easy as we anticipated and planned after lengthy preparation and rehearsals.”
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.