Two Beluga whales smile as they’re rescued from performing as show animals in China

The joy was palpable for two beluga whales rescued from a Chinese aquarium and transported to a new open-water refuge.

According to reports, Little Grey and Little White have been residents at the Ocean World in Shanghai, China for almost a decade. Their lives there consisted of performing for crowds in exchange for treats, whilst prior to that they had been at a Russian research center.

Now, though, as per reports, the pair have been rescued by the Sea Life Trust charity, based in the UK. The whales have been shipped almost 6,000 miles to their new home in Iceland, where they’ll be able to swim in the open ocean for the first time in many years.

Sources say that Little Grey and Little White will first be transported to a refuge in Klettsvik Bay off the south coast of Iceland. They’re due to be released into a massive sanctuary thereafter.

“We’re absolutely delighted to be able to share the news that Little Grey and Little White are safely in their sea sanctuary care pools and are just one step away from being released into their open water home,” said Andy Bool, who heads up Sea Life Trust.

“Following extensive planning and rehearsals, the first stage of their release back to the ocean was as smooth as we had hoped and planned for.”

After an arduous journey that included being transported by lorry, a Boeing 747-400ERF cargo aircraft and a harbour tugboat, both whales have arrived safe and soundly in their new forever home.

A statement from Sea Life Trust reads: “Little Grey and Little White are now in their bayside care pool and will need a short period of time to acclimatise to their new natural environment and all the outdoor elements before their final release into the wider sanctuary in Klettsvik Bay in the Westman Islands off the south coast of Iceland.

“The expert team and the independent vets were with Little Grey and Little White throughout the move and said they are healthy and are feeding after the short trip from their landside care facility back to the sea.”

It warms my heart to know that Little Grey and Little White will have the life they deserve in their new homes.

No animal should be forced to live a life wherein their existence is centered around performing tricks and shows for humans. Share this article if you agree!