Criteria for release are established by National Marine Fisheries Service in conjunction with an assessment by the veterinarian. A few of the parameters for release include weight gain, resolution of clinical conditions that caused the animal to strand, the ability to compete with others, normal blood parameters, and an overall assessment of the animal's readiness is to return to the ocean.
Release criteria at the beach include an assessment of weather and wave conditions. While animals are expected to be able to navigate the ocean environment upon release, we take into consideration the fact that, for young animals, a brief transition period may occur when returning to the ocean.
Released animals have been re-sighted as far away as San Diego to the south and as far as Monterey, Marin and Humboldt Counties to the north.