It's an act so cruel, it's hard to even comprehend. At some point last week, somebody shot a sea lion in the head near Sausalito. The animal survived, but with severe injuries.
He was in bad shape when experts picked him up. One eye was missing and another was swollen shut. Although sea lions can function in the wild without their vision, vets may be able to save his remaining eye. He was also suffering from malnourishment and dehydration.
They've named him "Silent Knight" in honor of the season.
It's estimated that at least a dozen sea lions are shot each year. One culprit is protective fishermen, annoyed at the animals for disrupting their harvest. One such fisherman was fined $50,000 and imprisoned for a month last year after shooting a sea lion. That animal survived as well, but sustained severe injuries.
The next three days will determine Silent Knight's fate. Currently receiving painkillers, he'll be closely watched to see if he can pull through his ordeal. Bullets are lodged close to his brain and could cause additional injuries.
Federal authorities will investigate the shooting. There are currently no leads on the identity of the shooter.