Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park is excited to announce the birth of the first female sea lion pup at Shipwreck Cove! The newborn’s animal care team named the baby Makara, which means “little sea creature” in Hindi. With her mom by her side, Makara is quite the adventurer and is exploring everything in her new world. “She has already earned a special place in all of our hearts and we are beyond thrilled for the public to get to know this amazing pup,” says Kate Conely, Sea Lion Manager at Wildlife World. Makara is the 3rd pup to be born as a result of Wildlife World’s successful sea lion breading program! 

Makara, or “Little Mak”, nicknamed by her trainers, has spent much of her time in the zoo’s off exhibit pup nursery getting acclimated to water and preparing to begin swim lessons. The art of swimming is not a skill that sea lions are born with. After lots of water play using kiddie pools, the youngster is ready to graduate to swim lessons in the large public viewing pools. Markara’s lessons will start in the shallows, until she gains the confidence needed to venture into the deeper waters. Trainers will remain in the water to support and encourage the baby, until they are assured the pup knows how to navigate through the water and enter/exit the pools safely. After swim lessons are complete, the sea lion’s care team will begin introductions to the rest of the sea lion family, including her older brother Sunny, who was the first marine mammal born in the state of Arizona!

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’s expert sea lion care team is committed to providing the best care to their animals and engaging, informative, and fun educational experiences for visitors of all ages at Shipwreck Cove! In addition, guests get the opportunity to feed the sea lions and participate in photo opportunities after their scheduled feeding times and shows. With an outdoor exhibit pool, public seating, and a viewing area for the sea lions, there is plenty of opportunity for guests to come out and see Makara explore her new surroundings on land and in the water!

With more than 600 species & 6000 animals on display, there are always new arrivals at Wildlife World! Other babies on display include a baby jaguar, colobus monkey, baboon & several hoofed animal species, including a giraffe & wildebeests and other youngsters throughout the 100-acre park.

As an 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 35-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.) 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 info: (623) 935-WILD (9453) or visit us on Facebook, Instagram, on Twitter @ZooWildlife, and


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