8th November 2018

As the move of the beluga whales from Shanghai to Iceland draws nearer, BBC reporters have been to visit the site. Merlin Entertainments bought the Shanghai aquarium back in 2012 despite its public statements of being opposed to keeping whales and dolphins in captivity. 

Maddy Taylor, Campaigns Officer at Freedom for Animals, spoke to the BBC: 

We are obviously pleased that the sanctuary has finally come to light and it seems like it is actually going to happen because we have been campaigning for this sanctuary for many, many years now. But we want to make sure that their welfare needs are met and that it doesn't just turn into another attraction.

Our Sea Lies campaign was launched back in 2014 uncovering the 'Cetacean circus' where the then three whales would perform demeaning tricks in daily shows. With thousands of concerned people signing the petition, hundreds of leaflets distributed and protesters taking to the streets our campaign has put pressure on the company to act.

In 2017 Jun Jun, one of the beluga whales sadly died. She never got to see a life of freedom. For the remaining two, we hope that the sanctuary allows them to live a life free from exploitation. As the shows continue in Shanghai, Merlin still appear to have profit as their priority. Hundreds of people have complained to Merlin Entertainments since the company publicly released its news of the sanctuary, demanding that they 'Stop the shows!' 

The complaints have sadly fallen on deaf ears with shows continuing in Shanghai at least three times a day. For the two whales Little White and Little Grey, the sanctuary cannot come soon enough.