Arizona’s first sea lion pup born at Wildlife World Zoo

Posted: Updated:
(Source: Wildlife World Zoo) (Source: Wildlife World Zoo)
(Source: Wildlife World Zoo) (Source: Wildlife World Zoo)
LITCHFIELD PARK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Oh, baby! There's a cute new fellow making his debut at Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park this week.

The park is excited to welcome Arizona’s first baby sea lion to the family.

The pup was born several weeks ago and is the first baby born to his parents, Paris and Crocket.

Being the first marine mammal to be born in Arizona, the youngster was appropriately named Sunny!

Sea Lions are highly intelligent animals. They are known for their ability to learn complex, voluntary husbandry and medical behaviors through operant conditioning principles and positive reinforcement.

In fact, Paris was already voluntarily participating in maternal husbandry behaviors, such as ultrasounds, long before the pup was conceived. By participating in her own health care, the animal care team, including 2 veterinarians, a veterinary technician and 3 specialists, was able to better monitor Paris and Sunny’s health every step of the way, ensuring the birth of a healthy pup and maintaining the health, comfort, and well-being of mom.

The sea lion exhibit was carefully designed, with the hope of one day welcoming a baby sea lion.

With approximately 150-thousand gallons of man-made salt water for the sea lions, the expanding sea lion family will have plenty of room to raise the new pup.

The spacious outdoor exhibit allows visitors to attend public educational demonstrations featuring these acrobatic animals twice a day.

Guests will also be able to feed the sea lions during their two scheduled feeding times.

"Wildlife World’s expert sea lion care team is committed to providing the best of care to our animals and engaging, informative, and fun educational experiences for visitors of all ages," reads a statement from Wildlife World Zoo. " In fact, each year Wildlife World offers savings for parents and schools, enabling eighty thousand students the opportunity to discover and learn about more than 600 species of birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles.

Like all marine mammals, sea lions are protected by the landmark legislation known as the Marine Mammal Protection Act ("MMPA"), first passed in 1972. The MMPA makes it illegal to hunt or harass any marine mammal species found in U.S. waters. Sea Lions, like many marine animals, face an uncertain future due to ocean pollution, dwindling fish stock, and competition with human activities.

Wildlife World is home to more than 6,000 animals, making it Arizona's largest collection of exotic animals. The energetic sea lions are seen daily at “Shipwreck Cove,” a pirate ship display with upper deck and underwater viewing. With an outdoor exhibit pool, public seating, and a viewing area for the sea lions, there are plenty of opportunities for guests to come out and see Sunny explore his new surroundings. 

Sea Lion Shows take place at 11:30 a.m. & 3:30 p.m. daily.

As a USDA licensed, private institution, accredited by the Zoological Association of America (ZAA) and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums (AMMPA), Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park receives zero taxpayer funding. No tax dollars have ever been spent to build or operate Wildlife World in its nearly 33-year history.

Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park is located at 16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park, AZ (SE corner of state route 303 and northern Ave.) We’re open seven days a week, 365 days a year, including all holidays. Zoo exhibits are open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (last zoo admission is at 5:00 p.m.) Aquarium exhibits are open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Admission includes access to the zoo, aquarium and safari park. 

For more information:

(623) 935-WILD (9453)
Facebook, Instagram, on Twitter @ZooWildlife 
www.WildlifeWorld.com

 Find out more about what you can do to help support sea lion conservation efforts:

Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums: http://www.ammpa.org
International Marine Animal Trainers' Association: https://www.imata.org
National Marine Mammal Foundation: https://www.nmmf.org

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.