Three orcas previously held in the so-called ‘whale jail’ were set free into the sea near Perovsky Cape in the Sea of Okhotsk on Tuesday.

The whales were placed into containers with water and loaded onto trucks near the town of Nakhodka on July 11, and transported to the release site.

According to a statement from the Russian Research Institute of Fishery and Oceanography, the marine mammals went through necessary rehabilitation and re-adaptation measures prior to their release. The institute also said that satellite tags were attached to the ales in order to track their activity and behaviour following the release.

The operation to relocate the whales was announced on June 20 during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual ‘Direct Line’ Q&A session. The group of whales, two orcas and six beluga whales, were set free on June 28.

The whole relocation process of the 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales will reportedly take approximately four months. The whales are believed to have been captured in the Sea of Okhotsk in 2018 and taken to cages in the Srednyaya Bay near the city of Nakhodka.