Two captive beluga whales, which were to be relocated to a sanctuary in Iceland with help from Cargolux, will have to wait a little longer for their freedom because of choppy seas.
Cargolux was this week set to fly Little Grey and Little White from Shanghai, near where they currently live in the Changfeng Ocean World, to Keflavik, Iceland.
But the flight was put back because of rough seas expected in Iceland, which prevents the belugas being transported the last leg by ferry to Heimaey island, the company said on 16 April.
The air transport, which is a joint initiative of the Sea Life Trust and Cargolux, was first announced in January 2019.
The entire 6,000-kilometre journey is expected to take 24 hours from start to finish. During the journey each beluga will be placed on a custom-made stretcher and placed in transport crates. Planespotters will recognise the Cargolux 747-400ERF planes to be used by a special whale sticker placed on the aircraft.
Little Grey and Little White will be the first residents of the Sea Life Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary, a project to rehabilitate captive whales into natural environments. In addition to having a space of 32,000 square kilometres in which to swim, the sanctuary includes a natural sea inlet in the Klettsvik Bay and provides a landside care facility and visitor centre.
Known as the “canary of the sea” for their curious whistling calls, beluga whales measure between 8.5 and 22 feet and can weigh up to 1.5 tonnes.