The Courier-Mail

WHALE OF A TIME IN NEW ARCTIC HOME

- KELSEY HOGAN Animals · Whales · Ecology · Wildlife · Iceland · Arctic · Arctic

THIS bel­uga whale has plenty to smile about af­ter trav­el­ling across the world and re­turn­ing to the ocean for the first time in nearly 10 years.

Lit­tle Grey, and fel­low bel­uga Lit­tle White, had for­got­ten what the nat­u­ral sea and sun­light feels like, be­ing cooped up in a Chinese aquar­ium since 2011.

But the whales are now en­joy­ing life in the world’s first open wa­ter sanc­tu­ary for bel­u­gas in Ice­land, thanks to global charity or­gan­i­sa­tion the SEA LIFE Trust.

As­sis­tant cu­ra­tor at SEA LIFE Syd­ney Aquar­ium Rob­bie McCracken said both whales were im­por­tant am­bas­sadors for other bel­uga whales in hu­man care across the world.

“The whole con­cept be­hind the project was to show that there are al­ter­na­tives for whales that are cur­rently liv­ing in aquar­i­ums,” Mr McCracken said.

“Bel­uga whales gen­er­ally live in colder wa­ters as they are found in the Arctic line so by mov­ing Lit­tle White and Lit­tle Grey to Ice­land, we can care for them in their nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment.”

Syd­ney Aquar­ium has pro­vided sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing for the “com­plex project’’, which has taken a year to en­sure the whales ac­cli­ma­tise.

 ?? Pic­ture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire. ?? Bel­uga whale Lit­tle Grey is hoisted into its new arctic sanc­tu­ary in Ice­land.
Pic­ture: Aaron Chown/PA Wire. Bel­uga whale Lit­tle Grey is hoisted into its new arctic sanc­tu­ary in Ice­land.

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