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Creating the world’s first beluga whale sanctuary

The SEA LIFE Trust, in collaboration with Whale and Dolphin conservation (WDC), has established the first whale sanctuary in the world to accommodate 2 beluga’s (white whales). The project was set up to place whales and dolphins that live in captivity back in a natural environment.


Since Merlin Entertainments (the parent company of SEA LIFE) took over Changfeng Ocean World in 2012, a sustainable solution was sought for the 2 Beluga’s that were held there. This was driven by the philosophy of not keeping cetaceans such as dolphins and whales in captivity.

Last week Little Gray and Little White (the 2 beluga) flew from Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai, China to Heimaey Island in Iceland. The flight was sponsored by Cargolux and executed in a specially labeled 747 and went very well.


After arriving in Iceland, the beluga’s people were transported by truck to their temporary quarantine basin.


There they can acclimatize after this long journey.


If all goes well, they can be transferred to the whale sanctuary after about 40 days.


Information about the reserve:

The secluded bay in Iceland has been chosen to provide a more natural environment and a new habitat for these whales. The bay is 32,000 m² wide and has a depth of up to 10 meters.

Learn more about SEA LIFE TRUST Beluga Whale Sanctuary at


The SEA LIFE Trust

SEA LIFE TRUST is a registered charity (no. 1175859) working globally to protect the world’s oceans and the amazing marine life that lives within them.


SEA LIFE TRUST’s vision is of a world where our seas are healthy, protected and full of diverse life.


In partnership with the global SEA LIFE aquarium chain, we are able to reach a huge audience. We run inspiring conservation campaigns and fund projects and education programmes that champion the need for plastic-free oceans, sustainable fishing, effective Marine Protected Areas and an end to over-exploitation of marine life.

We also own and operate our own marine wildlife sanctuaries.

Find out more at



Do you want to make a donation to the SEA LIFE Trust? You can do this online, go to our JustGiving page: and click on Donate. Your donation goes directly to the SEA LIFE Trust and your contribution will be used to support practical local projects to protect marine wildlife and their habitats, alongside working on conservation campaigns to effect long-lasting change on a global scale.

Thank for your support!


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