British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue


2018-10-07 21:34:29

Beluga in the Thames and the Telegraph

It is rare that we have to question our British press when it comes to reporting animal welfare issues, but we have needed to clarify the detail on an article that was published in the Telegraph on their website and Facebook pages, concering the beluga in the Thames. This was also picked up by other news organisations.

Nobody named in the article had discussed the response with BDMLR, who are the responsible organisation, and the discussion with the Telegraph was regarding the plans for Sea Life and WDC to fly two captive belugas out of China to a sea sanctuary in Iceland and wider animal welfare concerns.

We are looking at options but have no plans to lift the beluga in strops as we know that could be incredible stressful. We have no plans to fly it to Iceland and the Sea Life.sea sanctuary there is not yet operational. There are no facilities in the U.K. at Sea Life or otherwise, that have suitable pools for a beluga and bearing in mind what happened with Morgan, the killer whale rescued in the North Sea that sadly is now in captivity in Tenerife, the last thing we want is for this animal to get anywhere near a captive facility.

At the moment we are looking at options, but the decision on what we can or can’t do will be determined by the beluga itself. We don’t intend catching it, so if it doesn’t strand we’d hope it would make its own way out to the North Sea where it would at least have a chance of making it back to its home waters. If it does strand then its future will be decided by an attending vet, who will have a lot of info from others who work with beluga in Canada. They would then decide which of the many options would be best for the beluga.

What may have happened here is that the beluga in the Thames story was combined with the great news that WDC will be taking two beluga out of captivity in China and at the moment plan to put them into a sanctuary in Iceland.  There is no plan to airlift the whale to Iceland in a 'Free Willy' tupe exercise.

The Telegraph has corrected their article at our request and is doing their best to inform others of the correct details, but none of the online press that have repeated, or reconstructed the story have checked their facts with us so there may still be articles out there that reflect the original.