A new documentary delves into the lives of California sea lions

Because of their long history as circus animals, California sea lions are one of the most widely recognized marine mammals in the world. But they’ve also gained a rep as a pest, hanging around harbors, stealing fish out of salmon ladders and fishing nets. With a new documentary, filmmaker Alan De Herrera hopes to de-villainize the playful, intelligent critters. Grist’s Sarah van Schagen caught up with De Herrera at the Seattle Aquarium earlier this summer to chat about his film, protecting sea lions’ West Coast habitat, and spreading his message.