The transportation of animals is always quite difficult and time-consuming activity, but reallocating 2 beluga whales to another continent in the midst of Covid 19 might seen more challenging.
Bu the story of two beluga whales, known as Little Gray and Little White, was certainly worth all the efforts. Both were freed from captivity and sent to Iceland for further reintroduction into their natural habitat.
The cetaceans were rescued from Shanghai Ocean World water park in China. Both were taken as babies off the coast of Russia and sent to spend their lives in aquarium in 2011.
Now both are on their way to Beluga Whale Sanctuary – the world’s first open water sanctuary in Iceland.
The journey was 6,000 mile long and all details had to be taken care of properly. The team spent considerable efforts in organizing the transportation of those beautiful marine creatures and it went flawless. After the transportation was over, the organization said that both 12-year-old animals made it safely to Klettsvik Bay, and it is only a matter of time before they are released into the open water area.
Audrey Padgett, general manager of the Sanctuary, said:
“It’s been quite a journey for these two. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s definitely been a labor of love.”
The two females weighed about 4,000 pounds and were eating 110 pounds of fish every day, and in order to keep them wet during the long journey, they had been placed in specialized transportation equipment, accompanied by experienced veterinarians, and with enough of ice and water.
Then both were placed in slings with foam matting tailored to their body proportions for the journey to Iceland. The journey was not only on the plane, it included a truck, a Boeing cargo jet, and a port tug afterwards.
To make the journey comfortable, specialized team trained the whales beforehand, so they were acclimated to mobility. The excitement of both whales was taken on a camera – all they did was smile and play with their rescuers during the way.
Finally both belugas arrived safely at their destination.
The director of the Sea Life Trust, Andy Bool, said later:
“We are ecstatic to report that Little Gray and Little White are secure in their marine sanctuary care pools and are just one step away from being released into their natural habitat.”
Andy went on:
“The first step of his return to the water went as smoothly as we anticipated and planned after rigorous preparation and rehearsals.”
The whole journey of beluga transportation was funded with substantial donations made by the company that owns the aquarium to the charity.
The journey of two beluga cetaceans is not over yet, as they will spend several days in the pools to adapt to the cold climate of Iceland before their forever release into the marine wild.