The Journey to Sanctuary

We are immensely grateful to Cargolux Airlines for donating their aircraft, flight and expertise to ensure Little White and Little Grey arrived safely in Iceland.

The complex logistical challenge of transporting two beluga whales by air, land and sea was carefully planned by a team of global experts with experience in transporting marine mammals. Click here to watch how we prepared Little Grey and Little White for their epic journey.

The 6,000-mile journey took around 30 hours to complete - from the time the belugas left Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai to their arrival at the Sanctuary on Heimaey Island. You can watch a short film of Little Grey and Little White’s journey to their new home here.

The journey began on 19th June at Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai

  • Each beluga was individually lifted on to specially designed stretchers, measured to their physical requirements, and carefully placed into especially built transportation tanks, before being lifted out of the aquarium by crane and loaded into two lorries
  • Little Grey and Little White travelled by road from Changfeng Ocean World to Pu Dong International airport where a specially branded cargo plane, very generously donated by Cargolux Airlines, was waiting on the runway, ready to fly them to Keflavik Airport in Iceland
  • Following the flight, Little Grey and Little White were transferred on to two individual lorries and driven to catch a ferry from Landeyjahöfn to Heimaey Island, which took around 35 minutes to complete
  • Once the ferry docked on Heimaey Island, the lorries drove the short distance to Klettsvik Bay where Little Grey and Little White were transferred to the beluga sanctuary landside facility and placed into a special care pool for assessment following their journey

You can download a free poster of Little Grey and Little White’s journey by clicking here.