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SEA LIFE Trust confirms safe transition of Beluga whales into Iceland sanctuary
The SEA LIFE Trust has confirmed that two beluga whales, Little Grey and Little White, are now safely in their new sea sanctuary care area at Klettsvik Bay in Iceland having been moved into the world’s first open water sanctuary for belugas on Friday 7th August.
Little Grey and Little White are now in their bayside care pool and will need a short period of time to acclimatise to their new natural environment and all the outdoor elements before their final release into the wider sanctuary in Klettsvik Bay in the Westman Islands off the south coast of Iceland.
The expert team and the independent vets were with Little Grey and Little White throughout the move and said they are healthy and are feeding well after the short trip from their landside care facility back to the sea.
This is the first time Little Grey and Little White have been in the sea since they were taken from a Russian whale research centre in 2011.
Little Grey and Little White will now be assessed around the clock as they get used to being back in the ocean environment.
Head of SEA LIFE Trust, Andy Bool advised “we’re absolutely delighted to be able to share the news that Little Grey and Little White are safely in their sea sanctuary care pools and are just one step away from being released into their open water home.
“Following extensive planning and rehearsals, the first stage of their release back to the ocean was as smooth as we had hoped and planned for. 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.”
The Sanctuary, operated by charity the SEA LIFE Trust and which is the first of its kind, was built with the support of a generous donation from Merlin Entertainments. Created in partnership with Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), the SEA LIFE TRUST Beluga Whale Sanctuary is one of the biggest developments in captive whale and dolphin care and protection in decades and the first of its kind to be created for cetaceans.
The complex challenge of transferring Little White and Little Grey a short distance to their new open water sanctuary home was carefully planned by a team of experts with experience in caring for marine mammals.
The transition of Little Grey and Little White from the landside facility on the island of Vestmannaeyjar to Klettsvik Bay involved:
1. The whales were safely transferred from the landside care facility in specially designed slings with custom foam matting for cushioning during transportation using a truck and the harbour’s tugboat.
2. The belugas’ care team, along with local assistance, were with the whales throughout the duration of the move. The move took up to an hour with each whale to be moved individually. They were kept cool and damp using misters.
3. After reaching the bay, the whales were released into their sea sanctuary care pools. These sea sanctuary care pools are designed for monitoring the whales and providing veterinary care during a period of acclimatistion.
4. The time period in the care pools will be determined by the whales’ health and well-being with a 24 hour watch for a period of time before the whales are assessed to be released into their new home, Klettsvik Bay, which measures approximately 32,000 metres2 with a depth of up to 10metres.
For more information about the SEA LIFE TRUST Beluga Whale Sanctuary or to make a donation, visit www.sealifetrust.org.
For more information on Merlin Entertainments go to www.merlinentertainments.biz
For more information on WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation visit www.whales.org
18th November 2019 - Merlin Entertainments announces Legoland Shanghai development
30th September 2019 - Merlin Entertainments announce plans for LEGOLAND Resort in Western China
16th May 2019 - Merlin Entertainments signs up to global disability campaign
1st April 2017 - Merlin to close Manly Sea Life Sanctuary after 50 years
13th July 2013 - Merlin announces more developments at Underwater World
4th July 2013 - Merlin looks to major growth in Asia
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