Viral hepatitis associated with adenoviral infection has been reported in California sea lions Zalophus californianus admitted to rehabilitation centers along the California coast since the 1970s. Canine adenovirus 1 (CAdV-1) causes viral hepatitis in dogs and infects a number of wildlife species. Attempts to isolate the virus from previous sea lion hepatitis cases were unsuccessful, but as the hepatitis had morphologic features resembling canine infectious hepatitis, and since the virus has a wide host range, it was thought that perhaps the etiologic agent was CAdV-1. Here, we identify a novel adenovirus in 2 stranded California sea lions and associate the infection with viral hepatitis and endothelial cell infection. Phylogenetic analysis confirmed the classification of the sea lion adenovirus in the Mastadenovirus genus with the most similarity to tree shrew adenovirus 1 (TSAdV-1, 77%). However, as the sea lion adenovirus appeared to be equally distant from the other Mastadenovirus species based on phylogenetic analysis, results indicate that it represents an independent lineage and species. Although sequences from this novel virus, otarine adenovirus 1 (OtAdV-1), show some similarity to CAdV-1 and 2, it is clearly distinct and likely the cause of the viral hepatitis in the stranded California sea lions.