SAVE THE BELUGA

A second chance at a life in the (almost) wild

Little White and Little Gray have traveled over 6,000 miles by air, over land and over sea, from their former home in China to reach their new home on the south coast of Iceland. Beluga Whale Sanctuary is the world’s first open water sanctuary for Beluga whales, and the rescue centre’s first two guests are Little Gray and Little White. The whales were rescued from an aquarium in Shanghai in 2019, and on June 26, 2020 they where released to swim free for the first time in their new “outdoor pool” of 32,000 square metres (344,445ft²) of open sea.

Beluga whales are kept captured in shallow, small pools in so-called “marine parks” and aquariums, where they perform for visiting tourists. These wonderful, social and intelligent white whales are easy to train and are therefore highly sought after attractions for these amusement parks. Whales that are rescued or taken into care when tourist parks close down have no chance of surviving in the wild. They are trained to eat dead fish and no longer have the instinct to hunt for food. In the wild, beluga whales live in pods, sometimes in groups of over 100 individuals. A life as a lonely whale, released from captivity, is not a sustainable solution.

Beluga Whale Sanctuary in Iceland gives rescued beluga whales a new chance in life. Here they get a happy life in the (almost) wild, out in the large open water sanctuary. The Perfect World Foundation is supporting our new friends Little White and Little Gray and this unique project… everyone deserves a second chance!

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over 80 percent of the harmful pollutants in our oceans can be traced to human activities on land.
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every year, more than one million marine animals die from plastic debris in our oceans.
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8 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans every year, equivalent to one garbage truck of plastic every minute.

Save the Beluga – animal in focus 2020

Every year, The Perfect World Foundation focuses a little extra on a special animal. Previous years focus has been on elephants, rhinos, and polar bears, among others. Now the turn has come to the beluga whale. Which fits extra well as we this year also are focusing on our oceans and our campaigns for plastic-free seas and coast lines. Every year, over one million marine animals die due to plastic debris in the ocean.

 

Did you know that Beluga Whales…

… also are called white whales.
… are incredibly social mammals that live in large pods.
… have teeth but never chew their food.
… gestation period is 14–15 months, and they only give birth every three years.
… are born dark gray, and it can take up to eight years before they are completely white. The word beluga comes from the Russian ”bielo”, which means white.
… are close cousins with dolphins and porpoises.
… can stay below the surface for up to 25 minutes, and dive to a depth of 800 meters.
… are one of the most “talkative” whales.
… can swim backwards.
… neck vertebrae are disjointed, which allows the whales to move their head up and down and side to side.
… characteristic ”bump” on their head, contains of fat and are said to be used for echolocation.

Support our work for Beluga Whales

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The Perfect World’s work with Beluga Whales

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Our Beluga Whale Expert

Andy Bool
Marine Wildlife Conservationist