Two Beluga Whales Take First Open Water Swim After Being Rescued From Performing As Show Animals
The world fell in love with Little White and Little Grey when photos of their rescue from an aquarium in China went viral. Well, now they've had their first proper swim in their new home and it will definitely brighten up your day.
SEA LIFE Trust has released footage of the two beluga whales taking a well-earned dip in Klettsvik Bay off the coast of Iceland.
Ever since they were transported from their old home in China to their new digs they've been closely monitored to track their progress. Now that they've had a month to settle in, their keepers have let them have a nosey around.
SEA LIFE Trust head Andy Bool said in a statement: "We're absolutely thrilled by the progress that Little Grey and Little White have made since moving to their bayside care pools.
"They are feeding and acclimatising well to the more natural surroundings as well as all of the outdoor elements.
"We are introducing them gradually to the bay in little steps, but seeing them swim together and deep dive amongst the flora and fauna of the wider bay for the first time was amazing to witness and gave us a real sense that Little Grey and Little White are enjoying being back in the sea."
Little Grey and Little White were at Ocean World in Shanghai for nearly a decade where they were forced to perform tricks and shows to audiences in exchange for fish.
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Before that, they were at a Russian research centre.
To get them out of the aquarium and shipped halfway around the world, Little Grey and Little White, both female, had to be put into specially designed slings that helped protect their bodies. They travelled in a lorry, then a Boeing 747-400ERF cargo aircraft and finally a harbour tugboat.
It's hoped they will be able to live out the rest of their days now in peace and happiness.
Cathy Williamson, Whale and Dolphin Conservation's End Captivity programme lead said: "We're delighted that Little Grey and Little White are now exploring the wider bay and adapting well to their new, natural, stimulating environment.
"As well as providing an exciting home for Little Grey and Little White, we look forward to welcoming other belugas here and encouraging the development of sanctuaries in other parts of the world.
"We hope this will mean that many of the more than 3,500 whales and dolphins held in captivity for shows and swim with attractions can be brought to sanctuaries to live more natural lives or be rehabilitated for a return to the wild."
Featured Image Credit: SEA LIFE Trust
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