Quantcast
Connect with us

Captive beluga whales released into Iceland sea sanctuary

Published

on

The beluga whales have moved to a sea sanctuary in Iceland after being released from a Shanghai aquarium Aaron Chown PA/AFP

Two beluga whales from a Shanghai aquarium have returned to the sea in an Icelandic sanctuary, conservationists said Monday, expressing hopes of creating a model for rehoming some 300 belugas currently in captivity.

Little White and Little Grey, two 13-year-old females, left behind their previous lives entertaining visitors at the Changfeng Ocean World in June 2019 when they were flown to Iceland’s Klettsvik Bay in the Westman Islands, in specially tailored containers.

ADVERTISEMENT

On Friday, they were moved from their landbased facility to care pools in the sea at Klettsvik Bay — the first time the two belugas have been in the sea since they were taken from a Russian whale research centre in 2011, the conservation charity Sea Life Trust said in a statement on Monday.

They will stay in the care pools “for a few weeks” before they are released into the bigger sanctuary, a 32,000-square-meter (344,445-square-foot) sea pen that will become their home, organizers said.

Little Grey and Little White “will need a short period of time to acclimatize to their new natural environment and all the outdoor elements before they are released into the wider sanctuary in Klettsvik Bay,” the statement said.

After having been cared for by humans for so many years, it is unlikely the belugas would survive in the wild.

The pen is thus sealed off by nets that still allow sea life, such as fish, to swim through.

ADVERTISEMENT

– ‘Ambassadors’ –

Andy Bool, the head of Sea Life Trust, said the belugas’ release “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,” he said.

Bool said the whales were “ambassadors for the 300 other belugas that are in human care across the world.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“We hope to show that Little White and Little Grey thrive in this bay, and we’re conducting a research study … that will hopefully show that there’s a welfare benefit to being in a natural environment like this.

“We hope that can then persuade others that maybe their beluga whales might be better off in a different environment,” Bool said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Ahead of their sea transfer, the whales were trained to hold their breath longer, become physically stronger to cope with tides and currents, and put on blubber to help them cope with colder water temperatures.

The whales each weigh 900 kilograms (2,000 pounds) and measure four meters (13 feet).

Originally from Russian Arctic waters, it is thought they were two or three years old when captured.

ADVERTISEMENT

Belugas typically live for 40 to 60 years.

According to Sea Life Trust, Klettsvik Bay is the world’s first open water beluga sanctuary.

Klettsvik is also where Keiko, the killer whale in the 1993 film “Free Willy”, was flown in 1998. The orca was fully released in 2002 but did not manage to adapt to life in the wild and died 18 months later in a Norwegian fjord.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

2020 Election

‘This is going to be a blowout’: Morning Joe throws devastating new Fox News polls in Trump’s face

Published

on

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough kicked off Friday morning by listing off a collection of new polls that shows Donald Trump is headed to defeat in November, adding that the presidential election is looking like it will be a blowout favoring Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

Speaking with "Morning Joe" co-host Willy Geist, Scarborough appeared almost giddy as he read off the latest numbers showing the president still has not turned his floundering campaign around.

"Joe Biden has pulled ahead in Wisconsin in some polls 7, 8 points," Scarborough began. "So the states everybody has been talking about, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and really Ohio wasn't a part of this. Ohio and Iowa comfortably fell in Donald Trump's campaign, but all five of those states across the upper Midwest have obviously been part of the heartland battle."

Continue Reading

2020 Election

‘Trump will use every tool to cheat’: Dems prepare for Trump refusing to leave the White House

Published

on

Democrats say they are taking President Donald Trump's refusal to guarantee a peaceful transition of power very seriously.

In interviews with Politico, Democratic operatives and politicians say they are preparing legal and political strategies to stop the president from trying to steal the 2020 election even if vote counts show that he's been decisively defeated.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Experts: Lawsuit heading to Supreme Court would lead to ‘massive’ transfer of wealth from middle-class to richest Americans

Published

on

The Republican lawsuit that seeks to strike down the Affordable Care Act would save the richest one-tenth of 1 percent of Americans an average of $198,000 per year, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The case, which was initiated by 18 state attorneys general and backed by the Trump administration, is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court a week after the November election. A Texas judge ruled in 2018 that the entire Obamacare law was unconstitutional, after the Republican-led Congress eliminated the individual mandate penalty in its 2017 tax bill and an appeals court then sent the case back for the judge to decide whether the entire law needed to be struck down.

Continue Reading
 
 
Democracy is in peril. Invest in progressive news. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free. LEARN MORE