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Shanghai's star whales to find new home in Iceland

A Shanghai ocean park said its most popular stars -- two female beluga whales -- will be relocated to an open water sanctuary about 6,000 miles away in Iceland this spring.

Shanghai's Changfeng Ocean World said "Little Grey" and "Little White" will take the 30-hour-plus journey by air, land and sea to arrive at the Sea Life Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary.

The sanctuary was created by the Sea Life Trust and Whale and Dolphin Conservation, in a bay at Heimaey Island, located off the southern coast of Iceland.

Sea Life Trust said on its website that the two whales will be the first residents in the sanctuary, which encourages the rehabilitation of more captive whales into their natural environments.

Both 12 years old, the duo has become the most welcomed stars in the park since their arrival in April 2011.

They have been trained in the past few months to improve their physical abilities and swimming skills in open water. Special menus are prepared for them to gain more fat and weight to adapt to the cooler water at their new home.

Their departure date will be settled according to their physical conditions and other factors such as weather, the park said.

They will also receive special training to adapt to their new facilities upon arrival in Heimaey, before finally being released into the open water of the sanctuary.

Future visitors can expect to see them in the sanctuary under strict supervision and restrictions to keep their lives disturbance-free.

Source:Xinhua  Editor:Lucky

(Source_title:Shanghai's star whales to find new home in Iceland)