Published December 20, 2016
A British company would like to bring three beluga whales to the Westman Islands from a zoo in Shanghai, but the mayor of the Westman Islands wants no part of any “Keiko adventures”.
Vísir reports that Merlin Entertainments filed paperwork with the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) last April, requesting being able to bring the whales to Iceland. For their part, MAST considers it unlikely that the whales would bring any pathogens with them.
According to sources close to Fréttablaðið, these three belugas in particular have been together for years, performing in water shows for guests, as can be seen here.
Despite these plans, Westman Islands mayor Elliði Vignisson sent a press release stating that while the municipality can neither confirm nor deny working with Merlin Entertainments, he emphasised that they have no interest in taking part in any “Keiko adventures”. Here Elliði refers to the name of the whale who would become the star of Free Willy, who lived around the Westman Islands from 1998 to 2002.
As such, it is still unclear how or in what capacity, if at all, Merlin Entertainments will be working with the Westman Islands.