Cargolux Airlines International will join forces with the Sea Life Trust to relocate Little Grey and Little White the beluga whales 6,000 miles from China to Iceland.
The journey will see the belugas move from Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai via land, air and sea to the large sanctuary in a natural bay at Heimaey, one of the Westman Islands off the southern coast of Iceland.
The secluded bay will be the world’s first open water sanctuary for beluga whales, measuring 32,000 sqm with a depth of up to 10 metres being chosen to provide a more natural sub-Arctic environment and wild habitat.
Andy Bool, head of Sea Life Trust says: “Cargolux has years of experience working on many of the most logistically intricate projects and their teams have been working with our animal care team, veterinarians and marine experts to ensure we provide the very best journey for Little Grey and Little White.”
Richard Forson, president and CEO of Cargolux says: “Cargolux is honoured to have been entrusted with two such incredible whales. This is a ground-breaking project and one which our animal transport experts are proud to be part of. We are meticulously preparing for the move this spring to ensure a seamless journey for Little Grey and Little White.”
The 6,000 mile journey will take about 24 hours to complete, starting at Changfeng Ocean World where each beluga will be lifted onto specially designed stretchers and carefully placed into speciality build transportation boxes to be lifted out of the aquarium by crane and loaded onto lorries.
They will then travel by road to Shanghai Pudong airport, where a chartered cargo aircraft will fly them to Keflavik Airport in Iceland.
Following the flight, Little Grey and Little White will be transferred on to two lorries on a two hour drive to the ferry port to Heimaey.
Once the ferry docks on Heimaey Island, the lorries will drive a short distance to Vestmannaeyjar where Little Grey and Little White will be transferred to the beluga sanctuary landside facility and placed into a special care pool so they can be assessed following their journey.