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Beluga whales have long been taken from their natural ocean habitats and forced into captivity for the sole purpose of human profit and entertainment. But as recent documentaries such as The Cove and Blackfish have brought to light the many things that are wrong with putting these gentle giants on display in enclosed tanks, public awareness about this issue has increased, and many efforts to stop the madness have been launched.

One awesome project designed to help reverse what humans have done to marine animals is currently in the works in Iceland. Over the past six years, the Sea Life Trust, an organization dedicated to preserving the world’s oceans and the precious aquatic creatures that dwell in them, has been devising a plan to open the world’s first open-sea sanctuary for beluga whales.

Next spring, the Conservation charity will officially establish the whale refuge they’ve been working so hard to bring into existence. The history-making sanctuary’s first residents will be two female beluga whales, Little White and Little Grey. These huge beauties will travel more than 6,000 miles from the Chinese aquarium where they currently live to a new home that will be far more accommodating for them: a natural bay just off the coast of Southern Iceland.

Although the journey will be long and involve travel by water, air, and land, something tells us the trip will be well worth it. After all, it will bring these whales back to a place where they will have plenty of room to swim and live the happy, carefree life they were meant to live.

Since they’ve been held in captivity, these creatures will continue to be dependent on humans for the rest of their lives, meaning they could never again survive in the wild. With this in mind, they will be restricted to a 32,000-square-meter pen for their own well-being. While this is not ideal for the belugas, who at one time had total freedom to swim wherever they pleased, it is certainly a much better fate for them than continuing to perform for aquarium visitors in an unfittingly small tank.

According to the Sea Life Trust’s website, its Beluga Whale Sanctuary in Iceland will be “one of the biggest developments in captive whale and dolphin care and protection in decades.” Furthermore, the organization is optimistic that the project “will help to encourage the rehabilitation of more captive whales into natural environments in the future, and one day bring an end to whale and dolphin entertainment shows.” We’d say that’s definitely a worthwhile cause!

If you’d like to Support the Sea Life Trust in its efforts to create a sanctuary where whales can thrive, please consider donating whatever you can to this amazing charity. Every penny counts in helping to secure a better future for Little Grey, Little White, and the countless other whales who have been used for human benefit for far too long!

Image Source: Flickr