More and more starving sea lions are being found stranded on California shores, and animal rehabilitation centers are at their maximum capacity. Experts say there are fewer fish for these mammals to feed on, but they don't know why.
Credit Gloria Hillard / NPR
Peter Wallerstein uses a large fishing net to grab a sea lion pup that was stranded on a nearby dock.
In recent months, more than 1,000 starving baby sea lions have been found on Southern California beaches, from Santa Barbara to San Diego. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just declared the crisis an "unusual mortality event."
On a recent early morning, Peter Wallerstein is on the job on a beach near Marina del Rey, Calif. His white truck is a familiar sight along this coastline. Next to him, a small blond dog named Pumpkin rides shotgun.