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Mass stranding of pilot whales in Tasmania

Mass stranding of pilot whales in Tasmania

Over 450 pilot whales have stranded in various locations along a stretch of coastline in...
Tahlequah, the Southern Resident orca, gives birth to healthy calf

Tahlequah, the Southern Resident orca, gives birth to healthy calf

J35 and J57. Photo by Katie Jones, Center for Whale Research / Permit #21238 Tahlequah...
Why do female orcas live so long after they stop having babies?

Why do female orcas live so long after they stop having babies?

Orcas are one of only five species known to experience menopause and females can live...
Humpback whales swim up river in Kakadu National Park

Humpback whales swim up river in Kakadu National Park

Wildlife experts in Australia's Northern Territory are monitoring a humpback whale that has travelled 18...
WDC scientists join call for global action to protect whales and dolphins from extinction

WDC scientists join call for global action to protect whales and dolphins from extinction

Scientists from Whale and Dolphin Conservation, along with over 250 other experts from 40 countries,...
Rastus – the tale of an extraordinary dog and his love of dolphins

Rastus – the tale of an extraordinary dog and his love of dolphins

Rastus Dr Nicolette Scourse is an academic, educator, author and illustrator with a passion for...
BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY UPDATE:  Little Grey and Little White arrive safely after move to bay care area

BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY UPDATE: Little Grey and Little White arrive safely after move to bay care area

We can now confirm that two beluga whales, Little Grey and Little White, are now...
Vessel Speed Limits Sought to Protect Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

Vessel Speed Limits Sought to Protect Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales

"What we are asking for are essentially school zones along our coast, areas where vessels...

Update on plans to release the beluga whales at Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai

WDC can reveal that it is in advanced discussions with Merlin Entertainments regarding the future of the three belugas (also known as beluga whales) held at the Merlin facility in Shanghai, China.

Despite recent publicity, sensitive discussion and planning regarding the future of these belugas has been on-going between WDC and Merlin for many months. The ideal scenario for WDC would involve their release back into the wild or, at the very least, placement in a sea sanctuary where the belugas can live out the rest of their lives in a more natural environment.

It’s Important!

WDC is committed to securing the best possible outcome for these belugas and it is their long-term welfare that is paramount

It’s complicated!

This is not a simple issue to solve and is one that cannot be rushed without placing the welfare of the belugas in jeopardy. As previously stated, the removal of these belugas from their current location, and possible placement back into the wild is a hugely complex logistical operation.

Firstly, the three belugas cannot simply be airlifted out of Shanghai and dropped into an ocean.

Any whale or dolphin held for a length of time in captivity has to be assessed by an expert team to ascertain how suitable they are for transportation and release back into the wild. Assessments also need to be made on suitable locations for release, in areas where the whale or dolphin in question would naturally be found and preferably in an area with minimal threat to their continued survival and where there is a possibility that they could re-join a suitable natural population.

A team of appropriate experts needs to be brought together to handle such a transfer and other logistics need to be worked out in detail, in relation to transportation, official approval from the local, national and international authorities concerned, and securing the many hundreds of thousands of pounds of funds needed to finance this complicated process.

What next?

WDC would like to reiterate the sensitive and complex nature of discussions that are on-going and which will involve all the parties mentioned above. We are at a critical phase in these discussions and will issue further information as soon as it is feasible to do so. Your co-operation and understanding is appreciated at this time.

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