Captive Belugas Will Finally Have a Sanctuary Option
The world’s first seaside sanctuary for beluga whales is set to open in March of this year: a move that could ultimately turn the tide for captive cetaceans around the world.
The cetacean captivity industry regularly uses the lack of cetacean sanctuaries to legitimize keeping their captives in concrete tanks on perpetual display, and to compel the public into believing that certain stranded individuals must be placed permanently within facilities like SeaWorld. However, with the development of at least two sanctuaries currently in the works, that excuse will soon no longer hold water.
This spring, Iceland will host the first-ever open water sanctuary for beluga whales, as part of a project spearheaded by The Sea Life Trust, in partnership with Whale and Dolphin Conservation. The new 32,000 square-meter facility will be home to two 12-year-old beluga whales who were being held captive at a facility in China. Belugas Little Grey and Little White will soon make the journey to their new home, where they will be given the opportunity to live in the ocean for the remainder of their lives.
All whales and dolphins deserve to live in peace and should not be forced to perform for audiences as unwilling entertainers or “educational” props. Though places like SeaWorld claim that it is dangerous to release captive cetaceans back into the wild, it is more damaging – both physically and psychologically – to keep cetaceans in concrete tanks until the day they die.
The sanctuary in Iceland is just the beginning. Follow In Defense of Animals for updates on this important initiative and consider making a donation to support our advocacy work for whales and dolphins.