Ahead of the relocation of Little White and Little Grey to the world’s first open water sanctuary for beluga whales this April, yesterday we gave international media the opportunity to discover how this epic 6,000 mile journey will be delivered to plan and also speak to some of the expert team involved in making this a smooth trip for the two whales.
At the headquarters of Cargolux, our fantastic project transport partner, situated at Luxembourg airport, media were given the chance to step inside the specially branded Boeing 747-400ERF cargo plane that will carry Little White and Little Grey from Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai, China, to the SEA LIFE TRUST Beluga Whale Sanctuary located in a secluded bay on the remote island Heimaey, one of the Westman islands in Iceland.
We also offered those present the chance to speak to the two Cargolux pilots who will be responsible for helping to deliver this phase of this complex, landmark project, and so help to achieve our long term goal of giving the two whales a better future in their new natural ocean home, and also bring to reality a practical solution to whale and dolphin captivity.
At every step along the way, we have always sought the highest expertise available to ensure the sanctuary is success and that the welfare of the two belugas is paramount. That also extends to the pilots involved in the transportation phase, with Cargolux providing two of their most experienced flight team to fly the plane in April – Claude and Claude.
Speaking to WDC, Claude Zehren a 21-year veteran with Cargolux and captain on the 747 for the past 14 years, said he was extremely excited to be given the opportunity to be part of the team that would be bringing the belugas home to the sea. His colleague and fellow pilot, Claude Konsbrück, Vice-President Flight Operations at Cargolux said that in many ways the flight was pretty much standard but that this time they would have some very special guests onboard when the plane take off from China in a few weeks.
Check out the quick film here which also features our own captivity campaigner, Rob Lott and Rob Hicks from Sea Life.