Remember Little Grey and Little White, the two female beluga whales who had been imprisoned at a marine park in China? They’ve officially been released into a seaside sanctuary in Klettsvik Bay in Iceland.
The footage above depicts their intense journey from Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai, where they were forced to perform for visitors for nearly a decade, to the Beluga Whale Sanctuary some 6,000 miles away. The gals are currently in a bayside care pool where they’re acclimating to their new refuge, “just one step away from being released into their wider open water home,” according to Andy Bool of SEA LIFE Trust, which joined forces with Whale and Dolphin Conservation to make Little Grey and Little White’s move possible.
“[T]he first stage of their release back to the ocean was as smooth as we had hoped and planned for,” Bool said. “We are carefully monitoring Little Grey and Little White with our expert care team and veterinarians and hope to announce their final release very soon.”
Beluga Whale Fun Fact
Did you know that despite having impressive teeth, beluga whales don’t chew their food? Instead, their sharp teeth grab their food, which they swallow whole.
Bool referred to Little Grey and Little White as “ambassadors for the 300 other beluga whales [who] are in human care across the world.”
The clear success of the Iceland sanctuary certainly has us wondering: What’s SeaWorld’s holdup?
SeaWorld Has No More Excuses
We applaud the work of SEA LIFE Trust and Whale and Dolphin Conservation, and we hope SeaWorld executives follow their lead and allow the animals trapped there to be transferred to sea sanctuaries—something that PETA has been urging the abusement-park company to do for years. In sea sanctuaries, orcas and other marine animals could live in large areas of the ocean while still benefiting from humans’ care for as long as they might need.
What do experts say about orcas at #SeaWorld? @JMCousteau's story will make you cry.https://t.co/O7Jobk2UMF
— PETA (@peta) May 3, 2016
But in order for this to become a reality, SeaWorld executives must get their heads out of … the clouds. It’s up to us to persuade the company to save the whales and other animals at SeaWorld and grant them the same freedom now enjoyed by Little Grey and Little White—which is what all animals deserve.
PETA has made it clear to SeaWorld that we’ll gladly pay to get the ball rolling on a seaside sanctuary, one where these deserving animals could finally dive deep and feel the ocean currents.
In April, after another ex–SeaWorld CEO called it quits after just a few months, we made the company an offer: In exchange for a quarter of a million dollars toward building a seaside sanctuary, SeaWorld must agree to release the whales, orcas, and other dolphins currently being denied any semblance of happiness or a natural life. We’re still waiting for the company’s response.