Beluga whales Little White and Little Grey will undertake a long journey next month, when they will be transported from their current home in China to a specially-built sanctuary in Iceland. Their new home, located in the Westman Islands, is the first-ever open sea beluga whale sanctuary. RÚV reported first.
The two 13-year-old whales are currently housed in a Shanghai amusement park where they are kept in concrete pools. As they were raised in captivity, it is impossible to release them into the wild. Their new home will provide them with significantly better living conditions. In the Westman Islands, the whales will be housed in a sea pen, but the sanctuary also has enclosed tanks where they can be moved in case of bad weather or need of special care.
The whales have been preparing for the upcoming journey for months, both through diet and exercise. Snacking on high-fat fish is preparing the pair for colder water temperatures than they are used to, while additional exercise led by specialists will help them adapt to their new, larger home. The whales will cross nearly 10,000km (6,200mi) on their journey to Iceland, travelling by land, sea, and air.