Little Grey and Little White, soon to be free!

Little Grey and Little White, soon to be free!


Two young belugas that are being held in China will soon move from an aquarium to a bay in the wilderness off Iceland. This is wonderful news!

Moving two young belugas from an aquarium in China to a bay in Iceland is not easy! Thanks to hard work, Little Grey and Little White will be able to travel by air, on land and at sea, to reach the beluga sanctuary of Klettsvik Bay, off the south coast of Iceland. A wonderful process of releasing belugas that have been kept in captivity, which will have taken several months … if not years to achieve.

Belugas, such delicate and fragile beings

Captured in Russia when they were very young, Little Grey and Little White are now twelve years old. They have lived most of their lives in captivity in the Shanghai Aquarium.

Belugas have the greatest difficulty surviving in captivity, let alone breeding. Perhaps that is why China agreed to release these two 4-meter-long ladies weighing in at 900 kg each. For now, they are unable to survive alone. But now it’s the end of the tunnel for Little White and Little Grey. Circling nonstop in a tiny pool is soon to be behind them. We have known this since June 2018, and we are rejoicing for them.

Little White & Little Grey, deux femelles #bélugas de 12 ans, vont être libérées dans quelques mois de l’#aquarium de Shanghai, pour bénéficier du magnifique espace naturel du #sanctuaire islandais @BelugaSanctuary! #StopCaptivité @WHALES_org @SeaLifeTrust

— One Voice (@onevoiceanimal) 28 juin 2018

A project that puts a smile on your face

Since last summer, everything has been done to prepare for their arrival. The Sea Life Trust’s “Beluga Whale Sanctuary” takes shape off the south coast of Iceland, in one of the bays on the Heimaey Island. It is there that Keiko, the trained orca used to play in the film series “Save Willy!” was able to taste the freedom and to find large spaces.

If all goes well, Little White and Little Grey will be able to live another 40 to 50 years in the 32,000 m² bay with depths up to 10 meters.

10,000 kilometres to go before freedom!

If all goes well, because they still have to cross almost 10,000 miles, by air, on land and by sea before arriving. Thirty hours of travel, under painkillers and half covered with water. The stress that this trip brings will not be easy.

In the meantime, to ensure a brighter future for them, the humans who care for them are trying to train them for their future life at sea. Splashing about in a tiny aquarium does not allow them to strengthen their fins nor to be able to hold their breath long enough.

#WhaleHelloPlane! We’re relocating two #beluga #whales with transport partner @Cargolux_Intl to the world’s first @SeaLifeTrust #belugasanctuary! Our policy manager Rob Lott was there when a very special plane was unveiled! #BelugaFlight
Track it here:

— WDC (@WHALES_org) 13 janvier 2019

A project that is emerging thanks to many organizations

This project is the will and results of many humans, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation, CargoLux (in charge of air transport), and many others!

Dr. Lori Marino, a specialist in neurobiology and cetacean behaviour with whom we work on an ad hoc basis, is a long-time friend of the association. She has been involved in this project for a long time and plans to create another sanctuary in North America, the Whale Sanctuary Project, a major project she presented to us at the Superpod 6 conference. Belugas, dolphins and orcas such as Morgan and Lolita.

Dre Lori Marino explique le @whale_sanctuary et revient sur le nombre de cétacés captifs dans le monde. #Superpod6 #BlackfishEffect

— One Voice (@onevoiceanimal) 18 juillet 2018

One Voice follows closely these two projects of marine sanctuaries. We are still hoping for a new ministerial decree to emerge and ban dolphinariums. A decree prohibiting trade and reproduction in captivity would suffice for us, like the previous one. But it is urgent that the state take its share of responsibility on this subject. We fight this in the interest of cetaceans currently captive in France, like (Wikie, Inouk, and others), but we would much rather not have to go that far … or so often.

Please sign and share our petition to definitively close the French dolphinariums!