Watch Little Grey and Little White enter the sanctuary bay for the first time …
…now it’s little steps as they adjust to their new life.
We’ve been preparing for this moment for years and at the end of September, it finally came! Little Grey and Little White swam through the gate of their ocean care pool and into the sea. For the first time in their adult lives, they can feel the sun and the rain on their skin.
They are starting to show signs of behaving like wild whales. They’ve been playing with seaweed and sea urchins, rubbing on the sand, encountering puffins and catching fish and bringing them proudly to show their care team.
It’s been exhilarating and we are so proud of these two awesome individuals and how well they have adapted to each stage of their move from a tank in China to the ocean in Iceland.
Now they enter the phase of the project called ‚Little Steps‘, because that’s exactly what we and the whales will be taking. This sanctuary is a world first. No one has created a sanctuary for captive whales before and we need this one to be successful – for Little Grey and Little White but also for all the other captive belugas who could come here in the future.
In partnership with the SEA LIFE Trust, we have proved that this kind of project is possible. But we need to be cautious. We had hoped to move Little Grey and Little White into the bay in spring or summertime. But Covid-19 turned everything on its head and now we’re approaching winter, and not just any winter – Icelandic winter! This will be the first winter that these two whales have spent in the sea since they were very young, and back then it’s likely that they would have had their mothers and older pod members to take care of them. We’re in uncharted territory and so we will take each day in little steps, making decisions at every stage.
Little Grey and Little White’s welfare will always be our top priority and all decisions around their care are made by the expert team along with the advice of independent veterinarians. Their first year in the bay has always been planned to look different to ongoing years as it’s all part of the Little Steps programme, which is about gradual steps at a pace determined by Little Grey and Little White.
On behalf of all of us here at WDC, thank you for believing in us and for sticking with us – your support has been so important in bringing these two whales home to the ocean. I really hope you feel as proud as we do!
Julia Pix, WDC
We love these photos of Little Grey and Little White in the bay, taken last week:
Watch the whale rescue
Did you see John Bishop’s Great Whale Rescue? This two-part documentary follows Little Grey and Little White’s journey to the sanctuary. It’s still available to watch (in the UK) and we recommend tissues. Spoiler alert: it has a happy ending!WATCH ON ITV HUB
Saving pilot whales
I expect you saw the tragic mass stranding of pilot whales in Tasmania in the news. WDC supporter, Dr Maddie Brasier was part of the rescue effort (she’s the one in the grey hat in the picture) so I asked her to tell us what it was like and how it felt.READ MADDIE’S STORY
Baby orcas bring hope
A silver lining of this year was the news that Tahlequah, the orca who touched hearts two years ago as she mourned the loss of her newborn calf, was pregnant again. Now we’re celebrating two babies in this critically endangered orca population.FULL STORY
Visit our online shop
Browse our extensive gift range, from cuddly whales to clothing made from recycled materials and handcrafted gifts made by artisans from around the world. We spend 100% of our profits protecting whales and dolphins. TAKE ME THERE
France to ban captivity
We’re celebrating another success in our efforts to end whale and dolphin exploitation. The French government is to ban keeping dolphins and whales in captivity, using wild animals in circuses and raising minks for fur.FULL STORY
Don’t believe the hype
Don’t believe Norwegian whaling industry claims that whale meat is traditional fare. Historically, whaling in Norway wasn’t about food, it was about the profit to be made from whale oil. Today it’s about politics. Our CEO busts the myths.LEARN MORE
UK orcas face extinction
If you saw David Attenborough’s Extinction: The Facts, you’ll have heard the tragic story of the group of orcas known as the West Coast Community. They face extinction because of our chemical pollution. FIND OUT MORE
For a limited time, 100% of profits from these luxury notebooks are being donated to WDC. Plus, you can claim 20% off when purchased using the code WDC20. This very special offer is available until 30th October.BUY YOURS NOW