Two belugas are preparing to be released in Iceland’s new open water sanctuary

It's the first such sanctuary in the world.

By Reuters - May 7, 2020

Two former captive beluga whales, Little Grey and Little White, will be released into the world’s first open water sea sanctuary for beluga whales in Iceland this June following their arrival from an aquarium in China last year.

Videos showed the beluga whales being trained to adapt to their new life. Trainers were getting them prepared to use rocks to exfoliate and to get familiarised with the stretchers that will be used to move them to the sanctuary.

[Previously: First beluga whale sanctuary in Iceland to welcome new arrivals next year]

United Kingdom based charity Sea Life Trust said that having acclimatized and adapted well after their 6,000 mile journey by land, sea and air, the whales were ready to be released into their new open water home in what the charity said was a world first for marine welfare.

Since their arrival in Iceland, the whales have been acclimatising and preparing for their return to a more natural habitat. This has included adding more blubber ready for the cool sub-Arctic water, being introduced to the different flora and fauna they will experience in the bay as well as ensuring they are comfortable with the logistics of the move.

In June they will be moved to the large sanctuary in a natural and secluded bay just off the island Heimaey, off the south coast of Iceland.

The Klettsvik Bay measures approximately 32,000 square meters with a depth of up to 10 metres.