Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park is pleased to announce the opening of an outdoor exhibit pool, public seating and viewing area for its three juvenile California Sea Lions– the only marine mammals in Arizona and the first sea lions on permanent display in the state in about 40 years. The energetic sea lions can be seen daily at “Shipwreck Cove,” a pirate ship themed display with upper deck and underwater viewing. The new pool brings the total volume of man-made salt water for the sea lions to approximately 100k gallons. The spacious outdoor exhibit allows visitors to attend an all new public educational demonstration featuring these acrobatic animals two times daily. For a small fee, a limited number of guests can even feed the animals during two scheduled feeding times.

The new “Sea Lions at Shipwreck Cove” educational show compliments the long running Wildlife Encounters program located on the original zoo grounds. Together with the landmark Lory parrot feeding, the first of its kind in the US, Wildlife World is committed to providing engaging, informative, and fun educational experiences for its onsite visitors of all ages! In fact, each year, Wildlife World offers significant savings on the order of $3/4M to parents and schools, which enables some 80k children and their chaperones the opportunity to discover and learn about more than 600 species of birds, fish, mammals and reptiles. Wildlife World has grown to more than 5000 animals and is the largest collection of exotic animals in the state.

As its name implies, this species of sea lion is found along the coast of California north to Canada and south to Mexico. Unlike true seals, sea lions have external ear flaps along with rear flippers that can be folded underneath their body for greater upright mobility on land. The rear flippers on seals can only point backwards which means sea lions are much more mobile on land than seals.

As mammals, sea lions share the same characteristics as most other mammals. They have hair, give live birth (usually 1), nurse their young, and are endotherms, meaning they maintain a stable body temperature by generating heat internally from the food they consume. Like all pinnipeds, sea lions possess a thick layer of blubber to aid in thermoregulation and insulation as well as buoyancy. Sea lions have large eyes for excellent vision above and below the water surface. Their nostrils and ear flaps can be closed underwater. Long whiskers (vibrissae) aid in navigation and sense of touch. They have keen hearing. Sea lions eat a variety of fish types including herring, squid, octopus, sardines and dozens of other schooling fish species.

With torpedo shaped bodies, sea lions are incredibly acrobatic swimmers. Their normal cruising speed is usually much less than their maximum speed bursts of up to about 20 MPH. Using their front flippers for locomotion, sea lions have been observed diving to depths up to 900 feet and may hold their breath for several minutes at a time.

Sea Lions are highly intelligent animals known for their ability to learn complex voluntary husbandry and medical behaviors through operant conditioning principles based on the application of positive reinforcement. In fact, Wildlife World staff have already taught them how to use a platform scale to measure their body weights each morning as part of a comprehensive preventative health care husbandry program. The new show explores and demonstrates ways in which the animals are learning to participate in their own care.

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 US waters. Sea Lions like many marine animals face an uncertain future due to ocean pollution, dwindling fish stocks, and competition with human activities. As part of our commitment to educating the public about these newest arrivals, Wildlife World is accredited by the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums, as well as, the Zoological Association of America.

In addition to the new Sea Lion habitat and ed show, Wildlife World recently welcomed a baby male giraffe and Brazilian tapir. Both baby animals are now on public display. A much larger addition, a three year old endangered white rhino arrived in late 2014, is now on public display.

Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium is located at the corner of Northern and Sarival avenues, ½ mile west of State Route 303. As with all expansion projects at Wildlife World during its 30-year history, this project was funded only by revenues from gate attendance and retail sales. No taxpayer funds have ever been used to build or operate Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park. A new 15-acre expansion along the SR 303 and featuring rides and species from the Americas is on schedule for opening in late 2015.

Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium is located at 16501 W. Northern Ave., Litchfield Park, AZ. 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 9:00 p.m. Daytime admission includes access to the zoo and aquarium. Special reduced evening admission to Aquarium-Only is available after 5:00 p.m.

For more info: (623) 935-WILD (9453) or visit www.Wildlifeworld.com.