SAUSALITO (CBS SF) – Two sea lions were set to be released into the ocean Thursday afternoon after being nursed back to health by rescuers at the Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands.

One of the sea lions who will be making a comeback in the wild is Milestone, the 10,000th California sea lion rescued by the center, spokesman Jim Oswald said.

Milestone, a male yearling who weighs about 100 pounds, was rescued near the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on July 15. Rescuers discovered that he was suffering from a potentially fatal bacterial infection but were able to treat him successfully, according to the center.

The center held a contest to name the landmark sea lion, and of more than 1,000 names submitted—including Banana Slug and Atlantis—“Milestone” won out among staff members.

“’Milestone’ is the one that really stuck with us. It seems to really make sense,” Oswald said.

Zodiac Girl, Milestone’s companion Thursday, is actually a male teenager who weighs about 80 pounds.

Both animals received medical treatment at the facility and are now fully recovered. Oswald said that center’s staff and volunteers are sad to see them go but that such moments are also rewarding.

“It’s our mission realized,” he said.

Milestone and Zodiac Girl wer scheduled to be released at Chimney Rock in Point Reyes at 1 p.m.


(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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