Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Merlin Entertainments announces creation of SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary

Merlin Entertainments announces creation of SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary
June 29, 2018

Merlin Entertainments' SEA LIFE Trust has announced the creation of the world’s first open water sanctuary for beluga whales.

To be located in at natural bay at Heimaey, one of the Westman Islands, located off the southern coast of Iceland, work is already underway on the ground-breaking marine welfare project – to be known as The SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary.

As of early 2019, its first residents will be two female beluga whales, Little Grey and Little White, currently at Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai, China.

To reach their new home, the pair will undertake an epic 9,500 kilometres journey by air, land and sea.

The aim is to provide the whales with habitat more akin to their native environment. The bay extends to around 32,000 metre² and has a depth of up to 10 metres.

Andy Bool, Head of the SEA LIFE Trust explains “we’re delighted to break new ground in marine animal welfare with the creation of the world’s first sanctuary for beluga whales.

“This project has been years in the making and is a pioneering solution to how the aquarium industry can re-shape the futures of whales in captivity.”

Bool described the project as a truly global effort and said the sanctuary will give the whales a greatly enhanced quality of life.

Merlin Entertainments has been looking for a new solution for the belugas since it acquired Changfeng Ocean World in 2012. The company, which also owns the SEA LIFE chain of marine attractions, has donated funds for the project which has been created in partnership with Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), a leading charity dedicated to the protection of whales and dolphins, the sanctuary will include a care facility and visitor centre.

The project is the first of its kind to be created for cetaceans and aims to encourage further initiatives along the same lines. The long term goal is to bring about an end to whale and dolphin entertainment shows.

WDC Chief Executive Chris Butler-Stroud added “we have long applauded the commitment of Merlin and the SEA LIFE Trust to find a better, alternative future for these belugas, which is in line with our concerns about the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity around the world, and the need to find a solution for the thousands of individuals held.

“We hope it will create a blueprint for further such sanctuaries for belugas and other captive whales and dolphins, which are desperately needed to address the risks captivity poses to whale and dolphin health and welfare.”

Images (from top): Beluga whales Little Grey and Little White; their current home at Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai; their planned new home at Heimaey, one of the Iceland's Westman Islands; and an artist's impression of their new enclosure.

8th March 2017 - CHINA’S CHIMELONG GROUP OPENS KILLER WHALE BREEDING FACILITY 

11th February 2017 - ANIMAL RIGHTS PROTESTERS DISRUPT SEA WORLD DOLPHIN SHOW 

5th January 2017 - SEA LIFE SYDNEY AQUARIUM WELCOMES COLONY OF SUB-ANTARCTIC PENGUINS

15th November 2016 - INVESTMENTS IN CHINA’S THEME PARKS DRIVING ASIAN TOURISM

15th October 2016 - TRIPADVISOR BANS TICKET SALES TO ATTRACTIONS THAT ALLOW CONTACT WITH WILD ANIMALS

25th May 2016 - SEA LIFE SYDNEY AQUARIUM TO LAUNCH WORLD-FIRST PENGUIN EXPERIENCE 

27th April 2016 - MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS MARKS FIVE YEARS OF OPERATIONS IN AUSTRALASIA

24th April 2016 - SEA LIFE MELBOURNE AQUARIUM CELEBRATES WORLD PENGUIN DAY

22nd April 2016 - SEA WORLD TO MARK WORLD PENGUIN DAY 

6th April 2016 - ANIMAL EXHIBITS AT CHINESE MALL DUBBED THE ‘WORST ZOO IN THE WORLD’

22nd March 2016 - SEAWORLD USA TO MOVE AWAY FROM KILLER WHALE SHOWS

3rd March 2016 - UNITED NATIONS MARKS WORLD WILDLIFE DAY WITH A GLOBAL CALL TO SAVE ENDANGERED SPECIES

8th October 2015 - GIANT PANDAS AND LITTLE PENGUINS COMBINE FOR CONSERVATION 

22nd April 2015 - WORLD’S PROTECTED NATURAL AREAS RECEIVE EIGHT BILLION VISITS A YEAR 

25th March 2015 - INTERNATIONAL ZOO ASSOCIATION ACCUSED OF OVERLOOKING HORRIFIC ANIMAL CRUELTY

18th February 2015 - SEA LIFE TRUST LAUNCHES OCEAN YOUTH PROGRAM


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

BODY BIKE AUSTRALIA

BODY BIKE® International is a leading manufacturer of indoor bikes with a 20-year track record of creating the best indoor bikes. Stay connected with Body Bike Australia…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Sport / Technology / Wellness

 
 

Summit Fitness

Summit Fitness Equipment is now part of NovoFit - see www.ausleisure.com.au/suppliers/novofit/

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Technology / Wellness

 
 

revolutioniseSPORT

revolutioniseSPORT is the emerging market leader in online club management in Australia. Whether it is memberships, registrations, events, online sales or governance tools - revolutioniseSPORT is the…

read more

Recreation / Sport / Technology

 
 

Aquaspin

AQUASPIN™ - Aqua Cycling Aquaspin™’s sessions have been specially designed by our Master Trainer to be challenging yet fun group cycling sessions. Each session is tailored to…

read more

Aquatics / Fitness / Recreation / Wellness

 
 

Australian Innovative Systems

Australian Innovative Systems (AISystems) is a multi-award winning, Australian owned leader in the design, production and supply of commercial and residential chlorine generators and water…

read more

Aquatics / Safety / Technology

 
 

WATERPLAY Solutions Corp

Whether your goal is increasing your centre's revenues or creating an engaging environment, why not add play to your project? If you're looking for stylish aquatic play features, kid-tested…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Recreation / Waterparks

 
 

EventPro

At EventPro Software, we are proudly different from our industry competitors. We have a development-driven culture and 20 years’ experience in event, venue, and catering management software,…

read more

Events / Hospitality / Technology / Ticketing / Venues

 
 

Sportybots

We are the leading providers of kids fun multi-sports programs for Sport and Recreation Centres. Programs cover twelve common sports as well as Gross Motor Skill Development and suit children from as…

read more

Fitness / Play / Recreation / Sport / Wellness

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business