While relocating animals in captivity are complex and require a considerable lot of caution, transferring two beluga whales to another continent during a pandemic is just about impossible, as the following video shows. These two whales (Little Grey and Little White) were freed and flown to Iceland as part of a two-year relocation experiment after being maintained in captivity for many years.

Animals from Shanghai’s Ocean World water park were rescued and brought to safety. Initially taken off the coast of Russia when they were young, both whales have since been relocated to a Chinese aquarium.

CREDIT: FACEBOOK/SEA LIFE TRUST BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY
CREDIT: FACEBOOK/SEA LIFE TRUST BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY

They were transported to the Beluga Whale Refuge, the world’s first open water sanctuary, by the Sea Life Trust organization.

CREDIT: FACEBOOK/SEA LIFE TRUST BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY
CREDIT: FACEBOOK/SEA LIFE TRUST BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY

Although the organization had to travel more than 6,000 miles, everything was properly planned and performed to a remarkable degree of success. These organisms will experience the effects of seawater on their bodies for the first time in more than a decade.

CREDIT: FACEBOOK/SEA LIFE TRUST BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY
CREDIT: FACEBOOK/SEA LIFE TRUST BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY

According to the crew, both 12-year-old critters made it safely to Klettsvik Bay.

In an interview with CNN, Audrey Padgett, the Shrine’s general manager, stated, “It’s been a long road for these two.” It hasn’t been easy, no doubt, but it has unquestionably been a labor of love.”

CREDIT: FACEBOOK/SEA LIFE TRUST BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY
CREDIT: FACEBOOK/SEA LIFE TRUST BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY

Merlin Entertainments, who just purchased the aquarium, has expressed opposition to the idea of keeping the whales in captivity, which has sparked the idea of moving the animals. It was devised the most efficient means of carrying the two ladies, who weigh around 4,000 pounds and consume 110 pounds of fish per day.

CREDIT: FACEBOOK/SEA LIFE TRUST BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY
CREDIT: FACEBOOK/SEA LIFE TRUST BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY

To complete the operation, sophisticated transport equipment, veterinarians, and plenty of ice and water were required to keep them cool and moist.

The whales were placed on special slings with foam matting tailored to their body proportions for the voyage to Iceland. The convoluted route, which included a truck, a Boeing cargo plane, and a port tugboat, was devised to reduce the journey’s negative impacts.

CREDIT: FACEBOOK/SEA LIFE TRUST BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY

Since the staff in charge had already conducted multiple rehearsals with the animals in preparation for the journey, they were comfortable with their movements.

The joy that both whales were experiencing throughout the cruise could be seen by the fact that all they did was grin and play games with their rescuers.

CREDIT: FACEBOOK/SEA LIFE TRUST BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY

 

A cheerful figure with a naughty side, Little Grey is described by the staff as someone who enjoys sprinkling water on everyone. Even though Little White is quieter and more serene than the others, she developed amicable relationships with the caregivers and never ceased playing with them.

CREDIT: FACEBOOK/SEA LIFE TRUST BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY

The entire operation was completed successfully, and both whales arrived at their destination without incident, despite the difficulties imposed by the disease.

Andy went on:

According to the doctors, “after extensive planning and testing, the first stage of his return to the water went exactly how we had anticipated it would.”

Notably, the operation was made possible by a significant donation to the charity given by the company that manages the aquarium, which should be stated here. Because they will be spending many days in pools to acclimatize to the chilly temperatures of Iceland, neither cetacean’s journey will be completed entirely.

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