Milestone, the ten-thousandth sea lion to be rescued and rehabilitated by the Marine Mammal Center, waddled down the beach at Chimney Rock last Thursday with his pinniped companion, Zodiac Girl, and slipped into the sea. Scientists and volunteers watched on with pride, hoping to never see the animals again. “For us, the rescue of these sea lions really signifies the dedication of volunteers and staff to care for these animals, and the relevance this center has,” said spokesman Jim Oswald. Over the past 36 years, the organization has rescued nearly 17,000 marine mammals from beaches and alcoves up and down the California coast. Ailments have ranged from cuts and injured flippers to infections and gunshot wounds. “Why would people shoot sea lions? There’s no telling,” Oswald said.