Sort by

Back to home page


Beluga Whale Sanctuary is Underway

Work has begun on SEA LIFE TRUST’s Beluga Whale Sanctuary in Iceland

Work on the SEA LIFE TRUST Beluga Whale Sanctuary is already underway after planning permission was granted in April 2018.  Backed by a donation from Merlin Entertainments and supported by the world’s largest aquarium brand, SEA LIFE, the sanctuary will comprise of a stunning natural sea inlet in Klettsvik Bay on the island of Heimaey in Iceland and include a landside care facility and visitor centre.

Due to be completed in 2019, the Sanctuary will be open to guests who will be invited to view beluga whales Little Grey and Little White from a distance and learn more about the species. Little Grey and Little White are taking part in a special training programme designed by a team of world leading veterinarians and marine experts to help them adjust for the journey ahead, as well as adapt and acclimatise to North Atlantic waters.

Chris Butler-Stroud, Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) Chief Executive, said: “We have long applauded the commitment of Merlin and the SEA LIFE TRUST to find a better, alternative future for these belugas, which is in line with our concerns about the keeping of whales and dolphins in captivity around the world, and the need to find a solution for the thousands of individuals held.

“We are proud to have been a partner from the very beginning in this important project to improve beluga welfare and hope it will create a blueprint for further such sanctuaries for belugas and other captive whales and dolphins, which are desperately needed to address the risks captivity poses to whale and dolphin health and welfare.”

A sustainable rehoming solution for the belugas has been explored ever since Merlin Entertainments acquired Changfeng Ocean World in 2012, driven by its philosophy to not keep cetaceans such as whales and dolphins in captivity.

For more information visit

July 2018

SEA LIFE Trust Beluga Sanctuary
World First Icelandic Beluga Sanctuary
Merlin Entertainment