Two female beluga whales are to be re-homed in the world’s first open water sanctuary for the animals.
The world's first sanctuary for beluga whales is being created in a bay in Iceland to re-home animals kept in captivity, it has been announced.
The open water sanctuary in a rocky inlet on Heimaey, an island off Iceland's southern coast, is being created by the Sea Life Trust as a more natural home for two beluga whales which have been at an aquarium in China since 2011.
The two females known as Little Grey and Little White will be taken on a 6,000 mile journey from Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai to become the first residents of the Sea Life Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary next spring.
The move by the trust, in partnership with Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), aims to lead the way in the rehabilitation of other captive whales into more natural environments to improve their welfare.
And it is hoped it will help bring an end to whale and dolphin entertainment shows in the future.