Connect with us

Animals

2 beluga whales delighted by new ocean sanctuary home after years of captivity in Chinese zoo

The 12-year old female whales Little Grey and Little White were born in the wild but were captured when they were only two years old.

Published

on

Like this article? Get the latest from The Mind Unleashed in your inbox. Sign up right here.

(TMU) – Two adorable beluga whales were brimming over with enthusiasm and joy when they were freed from captivity in a Chinese aquarium and taken to their new home in the open seas of the North Atlantic.

The 12-year old female belugas Little Grey and Little White (Xiao Hui and Xiao Bai) were born in the wild near Russia but were captured when they were only two years old.

They were eventually forced to perform for almost a decade as an attraction at Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai where they performed tricks and shows before human audiences to get their daily meals.

Prior to their move, they were at a research center in Russia.

Beluga whales are beautiful and gentle creatures that are among the most vocal aquatic mammals known to man, earning the nickname “canaries of the sea.” They are famous for their expressive musical vocalizations and funny facial gestures. However, many belugas they have long suffered exploitation and abuse to entertain humans.

But after Merlin Entertainment, which operates Madame Tussauds and Legoland, purchased Ocean World Zoo, they immediately sought to relocate the two whales to more suitable and permanent homes, reports BBC.

https://twitter.com/BBCBreakfast/status/1292798745403428864

British conservation charity Sea Life Trust stepped up to assist the two belugas in the transition to their new home, which lies 6,000 miles in Iceland at the world’s first open water beluga sanctuary in Klettsvik Bay, on the island of Heimaey.

“We have been working with Little White and Little Grey for the last 18 months to make sure that they will be prepared and ready for the long journey,” said Sea Life Trust head Andy Bool.

The two whales’ voyage took place by truck and ferry, as well as a Boeing 747-400ERF cargo aircraft that hauled them while they were protected by specialized slings.

Having safely arrived in Iceland, Sea Life Trust is now carefully preparing them for their new lives in the sprawling sanctuary.

“We’re absolutely delighted to be able to share the news that Little Grey and Little White are safely in their sea sanctuary care pools and are just one step away from being released into their open water home,” Bool explained.

“Following extensive planning and rehearsals, the first stage of their release back to the ocean was as smooth as we had hoped and planned for,” he added.

https://twitter.com/tiz_just_orca/status/1291888512372015104

In a statement, Sea Life Trust said:

“Little Grey and Little White are now in their bayside care pool and will need a short period of time to acclimatize to their new natural environment and all the outdoor elements before their final release into the wider sanctuary in Klettsvik Bay in the Westman Islands off the south coast of Iceland.

“The expert team and the independent vets were with Little Grey and Little White throughout the move and said they are healthy and are feeding after the short trip from their landside care facility back to the sea.”

The bay, which the charity describes as providing “a more natural sub-Arctic environment and wilder habitat for these amazing whales to call home,” was also home to the late orca Keiko from the Free Willy film franchise.

Beluga Update

UPDATE 🐳We can now announce the fantastic news that Little White & Little Grey are safely in the bay! They will stay in the sea sanctuary care pools for a short amount of time to acclimatise until they are ready to move out into the wider bay. Stay tuned for our next update!

Posted by SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Whale Sanctuary on Sunday, August 9, 2020

Keiko, a 1990s icon for the suffering of captive cetaceans, was released at the bay in 2002, but died only 18 months after swimming to Norway and catching pneumonia.

In this case, the nearly 104,900 sq. ft. (32,000 sq. m.) bay will be netted off to protect the two girls. Due to their long spell in captivity, Little Grey and Little White are unlikely to survive in the wild on their own.

Beluga whales are known to lead extremely social lives, and travel in relatively large pods while in the wild. They are also known to switch between groups regularly.

However, belugas also lead tough lives as natural prey for polar bears and orcas, as well as humans who have hunted them for the purpose of exploit them as either a source of food or entertainment for monetary gain.

Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]

Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

Published

on

Like this article? Get the latest from The Mind Unleashed in your inbox. Sign up right here.

A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]

Continue Reading

Animals

Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

Published

on

Like this article? Get the latest from The Mind Unleashed in your inbox. Sign up right here.

A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]

Continue Reading

Animals

Blue Whales Return to Spain’s Coast After Disappearing for 40 Years

Published

on

Like this article? Get the latest from The Mind Unleashed in your inbox. Sign up right here.

Blue whales have been returning to the Atlantic coast of Spain after an absence of over 40 years in the region, when whaling industries drove the species to the brink of extinction.

Blue whales, which are the world’s largest mammals, had long disappeared from the region until the recent sightings.

The first was spotted off the coast of Galicia near Ons Island by marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who heads the Bottlenose Dolphin Research.

Another one of the majestic creatures was spotted the following year in 2018 and yet another in 2019. In 2020, two whales again made their return to the area.

It remains unclear as of yet as to why the creatures have returned to the area, but controls on local whaling industries are believed to play a role.

“I believe the moratorium on whaling has been a key factor,” Díaz remarked, according to the Guardian. “In the 1970s, just before the ban was introduced, an entire generation of blue whales disappeared. Now, more than 40 years later, we’re seeing the return of the descendants of the few that survived.”

Whaling had been a traditional industry in Galicia for hundreds of years before Spain finally acted to ban whaling in 1986, long after the blue whale’s presence in the region had faded away.

Some fear that the return of the massive sea mammals is a sign of global warming.

“I’m pessimistic because there’s a high possibility that climate change is having a major impact on the blue whale’s habitat,” said marine biologist Alfredo López in comments to La Voz de Galicia.

“Firstly, because they never venture south of the equator, and if global warming pushes this line north, their habitat will be reduced,” he continued “And secondly, if it means the food they normally eat is disappearing, then what we’re seeing is dramatic and not something to celebrate.”

Díaz said that while the data certainly supports this theory, it is too early to determine climate as the precise cause.

“It is true that the data we have points to this trend [climate change] but it is not enough yet,” he told Público news.

Another possibility is that the ancestral memory of the old creatures or even a longing for their home may offer an explanation, according to Díaz.

“In recent years it’s been discovered that the blue whale’s migration is driven by memory, not by environmental conditions,” he said. “This year there hasn’t been a notable increase in plankton, but here they are. Experiences are retained in the collective memory and drive the species to return.”

In recent years, researchers have found that migratory patterns are also driven by the cultural knowledge existing in many groups of species.

Researchers believe this type of folk memory, or cultural knowledge, exists in many species and is key to their survival.

A typical blue whale is 20-24 metres long and weighs 120 tonnes – equivalent to 16 elephants – but specimens of up to 30 metres and 170 tonnes have been found.

Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at [email protected]

Continue Reading

Trending

The Mind Unleashed