Belugas Move into 32,000-m2 Home in Klettsvík Cove: Video

Vala Hafstað

Two celebrities in Vestmannaeyjar islands moved into their new 32,000-square-meter (344,000-sq-ft) home on Friday, after having been living temporarily in a pool since June of last year. Their new home is up to 10-m (33-ft) deep.

The celebrities are beluga sisters, who arrived in Vestmannaeyjar islands in June of last year, and their new home  is a sanctuary in Klettsvík cove.

“This was a beautiful and emotional moment,” Sigurjón Ingi Sigurðsson, project manager at TVG Zimsen, the company in charge of transporting the belugas, tells Morgunblaðið .

The belugas, called Litla-Hvít and Litla-Grá (Little White and Little Gray) came to Iceland from the marine animal park Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai, where they had been since they were captured, at the age of two or three, off the coast of Russia in 2011.

One of the whales being lifted on board a boat …

One of the whales being lifted on board a boat that transported them to the new home.Óskar P. Friðriksson

The flight from China was 10,000-km (6,000-mile) long, followed by a truck ride from Keflavík to Landeyjahöfn harbor, and a boat ride to Vestmannaeyjar.

Tourists will be able to observe them in their new home, which is a pen in the cove, the first in the world to be made for belugas. Never before have belugas been allowed to live in a marine pen following years of captivity.

Transporting the sisters to their final destination went smoothly, Sigurjón stated. They reacted very well to being released into the cove and united again. Right away, they started playing, he states.

When arriving in Vestmannaeyjar last year, the belugas were temporarily placed in a special pool, where they were initially expected to stay for a few weeks. Their adjustment, however, turned out to take a lot longer.

Since their arrival in Iceland, the whales have been acclimatizing and preparing for their move to Klettsvík cove. This has included adding more blubber to make them ready for the cool water, as well as being introduced to the different flora and fauna of the cove.

A documentary, covering the belugas’ long journey, will air on the British TV station ITV later this year, hosted by John Bishop.

For more information, visit the website of Sea Life Trust.


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