Monthly Archives: April 2015

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Mirage School Fieldtrips

One steady source of publicity for the Mirage dolphin habitat is the influx of field trips throughout the school year, from the Clark County public school system, Christian schools, home schools, and more. Dolphinariums around the world use the education system as a way to mask the true business model; dolphin entertainment for profit.

The Mirage dolphin habitat is located in the “backyard” of the casino property. Steve Wynn built a special entrance to shuffle the school children in without exposing them to the gambling and debauchery on the inside of his gaming floor. The public is not allowed onto the grounds until after the children have left. Once contained inside the facility, the children instantly become mesmerized by seeing a dolphin, many of them for the first time. They linger on the trainers every word, without realizing they are not being told the full truth.

One anecdote the so-called educators at the Mirage love to repeat is “the dolphins do not perform tricks, these are natural behaviors”. They convince the children that the dolphins are not performing tricks because they are not pulling a rabbit out of their blowhole. Sound ridiculous? I couldn’t invent these stories if I tried.

POXschoolJust last month, the staff of the facility was caught on tape saying, “It’s our responsibility to make sure they’re as healthy as possible. That’s our main concern. You can’t do anything. You can’t do research, you can’t do interactions, you can’t do shows, you can’t do all those other things unless you have healthy animals and that’s a big thing for us“. The above video of the school trip shows otherwise. These dolphins are told to perform for school children while visibly suffering from a stress-induced illness known as dolphin pox. The Mirage dolphins have been displaying this illness for more than four years, after contracting it during a breeding swap with SeaWorld Orlando in March 2010.

MirageKidsChildren of all ages, from all reaches of the globe, are speaking out against dolphin captivity. Phoebe Goldstein of Colorado convinced her school to cancel a trip to Seaworld San Diego. Dedicated dolphin activist Zach Affolter of San Diego petitioned his school board to remove school-related activities from occurring on SeaWorld grounds. He has continued momentum by supporting students within the San Diego Unified School District in their bid to change the way field trips and classroom studies involving live animals are handled. View his speech with the school board by clicking here. The resolution (which you can view here) was passed unanimously.  UC Irvine student government stopped selling passes to SeaWorld along with California State University-Long Beach. Children from Point Dume Marine Science Elementary School in Malibu were successful in cancelling an annual trip to SeaWorld. Young children in Brussels took their love for dolphins all the way to the European Parliament. 5 year old Cash was so taken back after seeing a glimpse of Blackfish that for his birthday, he called for a protest of SeaWorld, that inspired demonstrations at all 3 American parks. Williams Elementary School in North Las Vegas created a video and a song to raise awareness about Orca Morgan trapped in Spain. Dolphin Project Youth Ambassador Harry Morgan recently penned this letter to Ellen Degeneres asking her to stop promoting the Mirage dolphin habitat.

MirageKids3Children are fascinated by dolphins, but do not need to see them in a swimming pool to appreciate the beauty they bring to this world. One young fan of dolphins recently stood up against her classmates here in Las Vegas after learning that her school would be taking a trip to the Mirage facility. She had seen “The Cove” with her parents and came to the decision that dolphins do not belong in captivity, especially in the middle of the desert she calls home. She will sit behind while her classmates are out in the Mojave sun, hopefully wondering why the dolphins have spots, or why it is so hot and the dolphins don’t have any protection from the burning sensation they are feeling on their skin. Once exposed to all of the facts behind the way dolphins are captured, trained,and exploited, children will open their hearts to the dolphins and call for their systemic abuse to end.

We are asking for the Clark County School District to review the information contained within our website, and to re-evaluate the decision to send children to the heart of the strip to learn about dolphins. If you are the parent of a school aged child in Nevada, please think twice about the message this facility is sending to your children.

Please sign the petition: Clark County School District: Stop Sending Children To The Mirage


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Celebrities at the Dolphin Death Pool

The Mirage Hotel is amping up their celebrity endorsements this year. We have seen several posts by people of significance promoting the casino and their exploitative dolphin program. A few of the celebrities make money off of the Las Vegas strip, so it is important that we continue to reach them in a polite, factual matter. We must show these celebrities compassion in our messages if we want them to show the same for the dolphins.  People will not take our campaign seriously if we are hurling insults back and forth. We need the campaign to succeed for the sake of the dolphins.

Britney SpearsBritney Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Britney Spears visited the habitat on the same day as our research team, and the same day as our protest on the strip to raise awareness for Maverick. This is the second time that Britney Spears has visited the dolphin habitat at the Mirage Hotel. Britney has visited the hotel in 2010 and 2015. Britney Spears is currently a resident performer at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino, just a couple properties away from the dolphins. It is understandable that she is looking for family friendly entertainment to take her children to while they are in town, but she should be teaching her children to have compassion and respect for animals. You can’t do that while exploiting them in photo ops and swimming while latched onto their dorsal fin.

  • .@britneyspears Please don’t support dolphin cruelty @TheMirageLV Learn the truth about captivity #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/HJa2HIN2t7 (Tweet This!)
  • .@britneyspears Don’t become captivated by captivity @TheMirageLV theres no beauty in stolen freedom #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/CYBGWwgIoS (Tweet This!)
  • .@britneyspears Imagine your kids being kept in a 117°F vegas summer with no shade protection. #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/N5IJR8GvvU (Tweet This!)
  • .@britneyspears Take the pledge to boycott @TheMirageLV due to cetacean exploitation in the desert #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/ZAA2ezkVKv (Tweet This!)

CakebossBuddy Valastro Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Buddy Valastro is the face behind TLC’s hit show, Cake Boss. Buddy has both a bakery (Carlo’s Bakery) and restaurant (Buddy V’s) at the Venetian on the strip in Las Vegas. He had the young children in his family visit the dolphin habitat on April 8th 2015. These young minds are highly impressionable, and deserve to know the truth about dolphins and how places like the Mirage continue to exploit them for monetary gain, without providing them the simplest of shade structures. Most children would feel heartbroken for the dolphins conditions if they were enlightened to the truth behind the dolphin smile.

  • .@CakeBossBuddy Please don’t support dolphin cruelty @TheMirageLV Learn the truth about captivity #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/cp14PYd455 (Tweet This)
  • .@CakeBossBuddy Don’t become captivated by captivity @TheMirageLV theres no beauty in stolen freedom #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/CYBGWwgIoS (Tweet This)
  • .@CakeBossBuddy Imagine your kids being kept in a 117°F vegas summer with no shade protection. #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/N5IJR8GvvU (Tweet This)
  • .@CakeBossBuddy Take the pledge to boycott @TheMirageLV due to cetacean exploitation in the desert #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/ZAA2ezkVKv (Tweet This)

GNRGuns N Roses Facebook, Twitter

Guns N Roses promoted the Mirage Hotel and their dolphin exploition program on March 18th 2015. Former member Slash has been a musical guest with Kings of Chaos at a benefit for Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project. Former member Matt Sorum is on the Dolphin Project Board of Directors. Matt even has a music video dedicated to dolphins and the ocean. The video for the song “Estranged” by Guns N Roses relied heavily on cetacean imagery, and lead singer Axl Rose was quoted as saying “The dolphins assimilate a state of peace or grace.” A band like this who has been around for several decades has legions of fans, spanning around the entire globe. If Guns N Roses were to get on board with our campaign, the dolphins would get instant worldwide exposure, and the Mirage would be faced from extreme amounts of pressure.

  • .@gunsnroses Please don’t support dolphin cruelty @TheMirageLV Learn the truth about captivity #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/Js5LDZSaJC (Tweet This!)
  • .@gunsnroses Don’t become captivated by captivity @TheMirageLV theres no beauty in stolen freedom #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/CYBGWwgIoS (Tweet This)
  • .@gunsnroses Take the pledge to boycott @TheMirageLV due to cetacean exploitation in the desert #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/ZAA2ezkVKv (Tweet This)

MirageEllenEllen DeGeneres Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TV Show

A few months ago, we blogged about Ellen DeGeneres giving away a trip to the Mirage during her Christmas special. On March 20th 2015, Ellen uploaded a promotion to her website for the Mirage Hotel. She describes the property, but leaves out the fact that animals are being used and abused for your entertainment. Back in 2010, Ellen was outspoken about asking her viewers to watch the heart-wrenching documentary “The Cove” about how dolphins are captured and slaughtered in Taiji, Japan, and how the entire round-up is fueled by the global cetacean captivity industry. The only excuse we can think of for her change of heart is the fact that Mirage (and several other MGM properties) have placed her new slot machines on their casino floor. Greed is the only thing keeping these dolphins from the life they deserve.

  • .@TheEllenShow How did you go from promoting #TheCove to advertising dolphin cruelty at @TheMirageLV? #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/ieWn3jUZTm (Tweet This)
  • .@TheEllenShow Don’t become captivated by captivity @TheMirageLV theres no beauty in stolen freedom #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/CYBGWwgIoS (Tweet This)
  • .@TheEllenShow Imagine your kids being kept in a 117°F vegas summer with no shade protection. #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/N5IJR8GvvU (Tweet This)
  • .@TheEllenShow Take the pledge to boycott @TheMirageLV due to cetacean exploitation in the desert #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/ZAA2ezkVKv (Tweet This)

Please reach out to these people and ask them to show some compassion for the dolphins of Las Vegas, and join our campaign. It is imperative that you stay polite, professional, and factual in your outreach. Remember to mention the name of our campaign and the website to find more information at. If you are having issues thinking of what to say, we have provided a sample letter you can use below:

To whom it may concern,

I have recently been informed that you visited the dolphin habitat at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. I am writing to inform you that the morals and ethics of keeping dolphins in captivity has become controversial over the last year, and is increasingly being reflected in public opinion in part due to the popularity of the documentary “Blackfish”.

In case you aren’t aware, scientific evidence has found dolphins to be “self-aware” meaning that they see themselves as individuals, separate from the environment and other individuals. This trait has only been proven among great apes, elephants, orcas, dolphins, European magpies and of course, humans.

The dolphin brain is not only larger than the human brain, but they have a cerebral cortex that is about 40% larger than the human’s. This cortex concerns emotional control, objectivity, reality orientations, humor, logically consistent abstract thought, and higher creativity.Some say that the dolphins are even more emotional than humans. If this is so, how can we ethically confine them to such small living quarters? How would you feel if you lived your life enclosed in a small room?

In the wild, dolphins have complex social lives which cannot be recreated in captivity. Dolphins are wide ranging, intelligent and social animals and no holding pool can be adequate to fill their physical or mental needs, no matter how often they are “trained”.

There are numerous pictures of the #MojaveDolphins displaying unnatural and dangerous behaviors such as lying listless at the gates and beaching themselves. Beaching in the wild only occurs due to extreme stress. The dolphins have spent more than 4 years suffering from an extreme case of the pox virus, a condition that would normally go into remission in the wild.

The death rate of the dolphins at the Mirage Hotel and Casino since 1990 is 55%. 12 out of 22 dolphins have died (mostly from stress related illness). Wild dolphins can live into their 50’s, even 60’s. The average age of death at the Mirage habitat is 10.6 years of age.

Have you ever been to Las Vegas in the middle of summer? Temperatures regularly sore above 110°F, and we have hit the record of 117°F on more than one occasion. These dolphins do not have any protection from the harsh UV rays. The dolphin trainers have been videotaped applying sunscreen to the dolphins. The Animal Welfare Act states that cetaceans kept outdoors should be given a shade structure.

There is a growing grassroots movement in Las Vegas called “Free the Mojave Dolphins” which is focused on bringing attention to the plight of the dolphins trapped at the Mirage hotel. You can find their website at http://www.MojaveDolphins.com.

Please consider joining their cause and becoming a voice for the 10 dolphins in Las Vegas. Thank you.


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Spring into Action, Mirage!

We visited the dolphin habitat for World Wildlife Day back in the beginning of March.

Bella (1)The first thing we noticed when we arrived was a female dolphin, whom we believe to be Bella, repeatedly sliding out onto her scale. The facility had just opened to the public. There were no trainers present around the main pool. The dolphin continued to slide out onto her stomach, posing for a moment or two, before sliding back into the water. This went on for several minutes.

The first training session started in the center pool with Maverick and Beetle. Maverick was orally given a drug called Nystatin. They said he is given this antifungal for his lungs and airway.

When an educator was asked about a shade structure for the dolphins, they replied saying that the dolphins are not effected by the heat or sun because they are kept in the water, which stays around 75F. Their go-to response seems to be that dolphins do not have any shade structures in the wild, so why would they need them in captivity? While at the Mirage, dolphins spend a vast majority of their life lagging at the top of the surface. The sun is a problem for the dolphins because trainers have been seen lathering on sunscreen as seen in this video.

Summer is rapdily approaching here in the Mojave desert. Mirage officials have refused every opprotunity we have given them for a meeting to discuss better options for the dolphins. They even turned down several requests to meet with Ric O’Barry. David Blasko, head of animal care at what activists refer to as the dolphin death pool, discussed providing the 10 dolphins with a shade structure during Ric O’Barrys visit to the habitat in October 2014. We were given a date in February for the confirmation of the shade, and that date has come and gone. These 10 dolphins will probably spend their 25th summer with temperatures rivaling Death Valley, and no immediate relief. It is their belief that the trainers are the ones suffering, not the animals.

Multiple educators were asked about the life expectancy of the dolphins. Each one said that dolphins in captivity live a longer life than dolphins in the wild, but each educator gave a different age. If the science behind this theory was solid, the educators information would not dispute one another. Listen to this video where an educator at the facility states the reason why Mirage employees respond with these numbers to the tourists looking to become educated on cetaceans.

The primary reason the dolphin trainers at the Mirage are saying that dolphins are declining in the wild is due to human threat. One trainer by the name of Philip has stated that he believes all wild animals should become captive animals. This knowledge is being passed onto the school children. The underwater viewing area was filled with art work from grade school aged children who believe that the only way to save dolphins is to exploit them in captive facilities such as the Mirage.

This facility needs to be on every anticap’s radar. There is no reason to be breeding dolphins in the desert, allowing them to suffer from the pox virus for several years, and not following the Animal Welfare Act by providing the animals a simple shade structure. Mirage/MGM has the capital to build a shade structure by mid summer. They just do not want to cave into activist demands. They would rather get a bunch of bad publicity and allow animals to suffer. This is not right.


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