The hardest chapter of a saga for 97 orcas and belugas has drawn to a close. Last year, environmentalists discovered the existence of what was dubbed a “Russian whale jail”, housing 10 orcas and 87 belugas that were having difficulty breathing through ice-caked waters in their captivity. As word of the whale jail spread, it quickly became a source of backlash the Kremlin could not ignore, and the order was given to release the whales. A complicated operation was conceived, wherein whales would be transported hundreds of kilometers via truck and barge in order to deliver them to the place they were captured. With military-like precision, trips were executed in 2’s and 3’s, first by road and then river, even getting some logistical insight from the son of famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau as to how best release the pods of sea creatures in groups. With the transport and releases behind them, the operation was dubbed a success but scientists will continue to monitor their re-integration into the wild.