Little Grey and Little White, two 10-year-old Beluga whales reached their retirement home in Iceland after entertaining tourists for many years in China. The two aquatic animals named after their colour undertook an 11-hour air journey to finally shift to their abode at Westman Island which has become a final home for many captive marine animals from around the world.
The two whales weighing 900 kg each were reportedly doing well throughout the air travel and were fed herring- for satiating the appetite of not so frequent flyers. Naturally, their new home may feel difficult since they were not accustomed to living in the wilderness, the caretakers will put them in a specially designed indoor pool for 40 days where they will be fed and extra food to develop insulation cover for bearing the extraordinary minimum temperature at the Island.
A British Entertainment Corporation, Merlin, which bought the Changfeng Ocean World aquarium in China has tied up with the wildlife fund Sea Life Trust as a part of its policy to help the marine animals return to their natural habitat and release them from the captivity. As a part of the drive, the two whales who were initially bought from Russia for $150,000 will now witness a sea of change in their surroundings after acting as an entertainment source for millions of their visitors in China.
Similar efforts of transporting the whales who were used to the human company into the more natural and wild surroundings have failed in the past. Experts say that these whales are originally the residents of Arctic waters which is home to 135,000 such animals.
The human intervention of buying these whales, using them for entertainment value and eventually shifting them to new environments have drawn criticism, which may even make them prone to life-threatening disease and early deaths. The researchers are even sceptic of the motive behind the uneasy transportation of these giant mammals and doubt the move will be any good for their future lives.
"Why bring two whales, whose species is not naturally in Icelandic water, and keep them in captivity here?"Marianne Helene Rasmussen, a research professor at the University of Iceland questioned, the Associated Press reported.
Even at their new address in Iceland, the Beluga Whales would not be cut-off from human contact. In fact, the Westland Island administration is all geared up for queries from human visitors who would land up to see them once the animals are dropped into the ocean.