2 Beluga Whales Flown on Boeing 747 From China to Iceland


first_img Watch: Humpback Whale, Sailboat Almost Collide in CaliforniaWatch: Great White Shark Bumps Into Boat Near Whale Carcass Stay on target Two female beluga whales became the first residents of the world’s first beluga whale sanctuary, after completing a complicated journey that included being flown on a Boeing 747 plane from Shanghai, China to Iceland.The 12-year-old whales, named Little Grey and Little White, were previously part of the “entertainment” at the  Changfeng Ocean World aquarium in China. They will now live out the rest of their lives in the sanctuary at Klettsvik Bay on the island of Heimaey, located off the southern coast of Iceland.What a week!Little White and Little Grey completed the 6,000 miles from China to Iceland – watch the monumental journey with @Cargolux_Intl here! pic.twitter.com/Ry4nqexcTT— Beluga Sanctuary (@BelugaSanctuary) June 21, 2019The first of its kind, the sanctuary was created to rehabilitate captive dolphins and whales.The conservation charity SEA LIFE TRUST, which has been at the forefront of the project, said the bay was selected to “provide a more natural sub-Arctic environment and wilder habitat for these amazing whales to call home.”The logistical challenge of transporting two beluga whales by air, land and sea was carefully planned by a team of global experts. The 6,000-mile journey took 30 hours to complete.One of the whales in an aquarium in China before being transported to its new home in Iceland. (Photo Credit: SEA LIFE TRUST Beluga Whale Sanctuary)Each beluga was individually lifted onto specially designed stretchers and placed into specially built transportation boxes before they were lifted out of the aquarium by crane and loaded into two lorries. Little Grey and Little White then traveled by road to Pu Dong International airport, where they boarded a specially chartered cargo plane, a Boeing 747-400ERF that flew them to Keflavik Airport in Iceland.After the flight, the belugas were transported to a ferry to Heiamey Island and transferred to the beluga sanctuary landside facility and placed into a special care pool for assessment, before their release into the open-water sanctuary.The sanctuary is at Klettsvik Bay on the island of Heimaey, located off the southern coast of Iceland. (Photo Credit: SEA LIFE TRUST Beluga Whale Sanctuary)In the facility, the whales will be part of a training program to prepare them for release and help them put on extra blubber to get used to colder North Atlantic waters.“It’s important for us to help the whales to acclimatize to a much colder and natural environment where they will need to adapt to freezing temperatures, the local fauna, wildlife and much deeper waters,” said Mark Todd, an independent marine mammal behavior expert and consultant on the SEA LIFE TRUST Beluga Whale Sanctuary.Little Grey and Little White will take part in a training program to prime them for release into the bay. (Photo Credit: SEA LIFE TRUST Beluga Whale Sanctuary)To help Little Grey and Little White gain confidence for interacting with the local fauna and wildlife in the bay, the project team will carefully introduce them to creatures such as crabs and other shellfish as well plant life such as sea kelp found in the local area. They will also take part in training designed to increase their fitness and ability to hold their breath underwater for longer in the deeper waters.The whales are originally from Russian Arctic waters and it is believed they were two or three years old when captured.UPDATE Over the weekend Little White and Little Greyhave been eating well and have settled into their care pool nicely.They’ll stay in their temporary home under quarantine for 40+ days, until theyare ready to be moved to their permanent open water home! pic.twitter.com/HIZ3HL5U9m— Beluga Sanctuary (@BelugaSanctuary) June 25, 2019More than 3,000 whales and dolphins are kept in captivity and conservationists are hoping that up to eight other belugas could join Little Grey and Little White in the future.“The world’s first whale sanctuary represents a pathway to the end of the keeping of whales and dolphins confined for entertainment,” said Cathy Williamson, Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s End Captivity Programme Policy Manager.More on Geek.com:Photographer Captures ‘Horrific’ Photo of Whale With Sliced-Off Tail After Boat StrikeWatch: Humpback Whale Swims With Dolphins Off Irish CoatOne of the World’s Rarest Whales Recorded Singing fo First Timelast_img

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