Bella’s 1st Calf & 2 Transfers

It’s with an extremely heavy heart that I write this blog post.

​​The Mirage, once nicknamed the “Dolphin Death Pool in the Desert“, has bred another calf into their artificial pod. This is the 3rd calf in 3 years.

She was born on August 16th. The mother is Bella. She is just shy of her 11th birthday. She has spent her entire life under the intense heat of the Mojave sun. The calf is expected to do the same. The father is Razzle, a 30-year-old male who lives at Seaworld San Diego (originally from Marineland Florida).

The calf is already on display in the back pool which the habitat refers to as the “Birthing and Research Pool”. I am being told that interactions with the public and the remaining adults are still being held in the “Birthing and Research Pool”. My source spent a few days inside of the dolphin pool observing and said that the “Paint with a Dolphin” program was still taking place in the pool, along with the “photo ops”

Lightning and Miramar were also removed from the Mirage and sent to live at Gulf World Marine Park in Panama City, Florida. This is a bittersweet moment. On one hand, these 2 adult males will no longer be languishing under the sun in the desert. Lightning was originally living at Gulf World. I am told there is shade at this facility. The sad part is I am not sure who is going to be advocating for them from the east coast. Miramar was born in Las Vegas in 2011, so he was taken away from the only family he has ever known. These dolphins are still stuck within the confines of a concrete pool, forced to perform for the ignorant public.

The habitat in Las Vegas still has minimal shade. Structures were added to the “Birthing and Research” pool but they do not cover the entire pool. They are mainly for the interactions that take place along the edges with trainers and the public. The remaining pool surface is subject to the foliage and passing sun.

There are 10 dolphins living in Las Vegas. Duchess, Huf-N-Puf, Maverick, Osbourne, Sofi, Bella, K2, Coco, Karli, and the new little baby. Do not allow the removal of two males to fool you. The last two calves were born via artificial insemination in partnership the Georgia Aquarium and Seaworld San Diego.

Never stop speaking out on their behalf. They need you now more than ever.


Seaside Sanctuary for Baltimore Dolphins

The National Aquarium in Baltimore is going to be the first dolphinarium in North America to build their dolphins a seaside sanctuary.

The team behind this project is still scouting for the perfect location, and needs to consider:

  • The environmental appropriateness of a site (natural stimuli, exemplary water quality, a fitting climate, etc.)
  • Community interest in the sanctuary
  • Potential for high levels of environmental protection and ability to achieve proper permitting
  • Workforce-related considerations (housing, livability, family, and healthcare, etc.)

Empty the Tanks 2016, National Aquarium

When you engage in a conversation about anti-captivity with an individual who isn’t familiar with the subject matter, their response is usually somewhere along the lines of “How will the dolphins survive in an ocean? You can’t just drop them and forget about them.”

Even though the new sanctuary will not be ready for a few more years, the National Aquarium is already working diligently with their dolphins, preparing them to be transitioned to living in the ocean.

A dolphin plays in the tank before a training session. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun)

Each dolphin is being treated as an individual, and a customized plan is in place for each of the seven dolphins. The National Aquarium is also beginning to teach the dolphins how to use a stretcher and to relax in shallow waters with trainers surrounding them so they will be less stressed during transport. Algae has been introduced into the tanks to provide a more natural setting, and to help the dolphins learn to adapt to their new environmentally-rich home. New toys will be introduced to their regimen to allow for problem-solving skills to develop.

Dolphin captivity has been a failed experiment that has gone on far too long. Cetaceans do not thrive in captive swimming pools. This is the very thing that activists are begging other facilities to do.

We urge The Mirage to be industry leaders in this new ground-breaking research on cetaceans and follow the National Aquarium by sending the 10 Mojave Dolphins to a seaside sanctuary.

Empty the Tanks 2017, National Aquarium


Big Cats Cause an Uproar in Las Vegas Resort

Have you heard of the magician Dirk Arthur? It seems that many people haven’t, but that didn’t stop the Westgate in Las Vegas from hiring him on as their new act. Dirk Arthur is going to attempt to evade animal activists by only using a bobcat and a snow leopard on his act. His show was set to debut on November 1st, and for reasons unknown to us, was pushed back to November 15th at 6 pm.

Jonathan Kraft, Founder and Director of Keepers of the Wild spoke out two years ago stating, “Times have changed and it’s just appalling how these animals live on concrete, from box to box to box. They’ve got a miserable life and it’s really a terrible form of abuse”. He is the authority to speak to given the fact that Jonathan became an animal activist after training two cubs for a Las Vegas production and witnessing the abuse and neglect provided by other animal trainers.

The last time I blogged about Dirk Arthur, I posted:

Dirk Arthur says he is for conservation, but he has been cited by federal agencies for serious violations of the Animal Welfare Act, including forcing tigers and a lion to undergo a painful declawing surgery. This procedure amputates the last joint on each toe, and is highly frowned upon. He has also kept his large cats in metal cages with no protection from the harsh elements in temperatures over 100 degrees.

When Dirk Arthur performed during the last days of the Riviera, I hosted several protests in front of the hotel that attracted media attention. It was truly a shock when the Westgate picked up his bill. We also protested him during his last run at Westgate. Animal Defenders International released an expose, and he quietly ran away. Activists are already beginning to plan to put constant pressure on the hotel until they drop the show for good this time.

For information on the opening protest, follow this facebook event page.

Phone your complaints into the Westgate Hotel and urge them to drop Dirk Arthurs inhumane performance: (702) 732-5111


Upcoming: 3rd Annual ‘Thanks but No Tanks!’

Thanks but No Tanks 2014

The Las Vegas activist pod will be coming together once again this holiday season to convince tourists that there is nothing cheery about visiting the Mirage Hotel and Casino as long as animals are used as an entertainment attraction. We will be meeting for our 3rd Annual “Thanks but No Tanks!” protest that happens the Saturday following Thanksgiving.

Tourism is slow for our city during Thanksgiving holiday weekend, but Las Vegas is a popular destination for those who are seeking to travel away for the holidays due to cheap hotel rooms. According to the LA Times, it is especially common for Asian tourists from Southern California.

Our goals for this protest are to engage with the tourists and passersby in conversation about the horrors behind the captive dolphin industry and convince them to not purchase a ticket to any facility that holds dolphins. We will be displaying posters to motorists and pedestrians, and handing out educational brochures regarding the local #MojaveDolphins campaign.

Empty the Tanks 2014

We are speaking out on behalf of the 13 dolphins that have been documented to have died prematurely within the Mirage Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat. We are the voices of Beetle, Sgt Pepper, Sage, Squirt, Rascal, Picabo, Banjo, Sigma, Darla, Bugsy, Merlin, and the calves of both Darla and Sigma. We will continue splashing for Duchess, Lightning, Huf-N-Puf, Maverick, Osbourne, Sophie, Bella, K2, Miramar, and Coco. We will never be silent.


Making a Splash on the Las Vegas Strip

Category : protests & events

There’s a new mobile billboard truck running down the Las Vegas strip this week, have you seen it?

On October 21st 2017, Compassionworks International hosted an event outside of the Mirage Hotel to raise awareness about both the dolphins and the wild cats confined within the Secret Garden attraction. There were other “Freedom Matters” events held around the country: Franklin Park Zoo (Boston, MA), Los Angeles Zoo (Los Angeles, CA), and Brookfield Zoo (Brookfield, IL).

The protest outside of the Mirage Hotel included something special… a mobile billboard truck rolling down the always populated Las Vegas strip for a week of advertising. The sides of the truck display messages such as “MY HOME IS IN THE OCEAN”, and “JAILED WITHOUT A CRIME”, “CONFINED FOR YOUR AMUSEMENT”, and “CAPTIVITY IS CRUELTY”.

The City of Las Vegas sees an average of over 800,000 tourist visitors a week… that is nearly one million people who have the potential to see the mobile billboard! Let us know if you see it.  Click this link to watch our video of the truck in action!

The dolphin habitat in Las Vegas has been operational for 27 years as of this month. Duchess has been held in these same pools for nearly 3 decades. Her offspring are now having to raise their offspring in the filthy, uncovered, man-made habitats. This is unacceptable, and we are outraged. Continue to phone your messages to the hotel at (702) 791-7111. You can also use the pre-written tweet below:

TWEET THIS MESSAGE: I am disgusted that it’s been 27 years and has yet to provide their with a shade structure.

We will continue to document the conditions these animals are held in, raise awareness on how it’s wrong to purchase tickets to view their suffering, and hold events outside of the Mirage Hotel. Our next event will be our 3rd annual “Thanks But No Tanks” protest held the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Thank you to Compassionworks International for the mobile billboard truck.


Coco and the Corporate Shill

During Spring of 2017, I started to receive reports that at least one of the dolphins at the Mirage was pregnant.

 

On July 17th 2017, local news reported that Huf-N-Puf gave birth to a female dolphin calf at the Mirage. The father was Lightning. This is their third calf together. Her siblings are Bella (born 2008) and Miramar (born 2011). The name was released to the public in September 2017; “Coco”. She is being kept with Huf, Duchess, and Bella in the birthing and research pool. This is the large pool in the rear.

Back Tank “Birthing and Research Pool” April 2014

Coco was named after MGM’s employee philosophy which is “One Company, One Culture”. This is the same company that keeps her and the rest of the Mojave pod confined under extreme temperatures with absolutely no escape from the sun. The foliage around the pools provides very little shade, and only during certain times of the day. Las Vegas had nearly 60 days this summer where we reached at least 105f or higher. In the wild, dolphins have the ability to swim deep beneath the surface, protecting their skin from being sunburned. Dolphins at the Mirage spend the majority of their time lagging at the surface, chewing at the gates, and waiting for food.

Coco’s life will be no different than the rest of the animals here in Las Vegas. She will spend her days swimming around the tiny pool with artificial coral awhile tourists point and smile at how “cute and happy” she must be because they can see the rather unfortunate way her anatomy forms her mouth. Overtime she may pick up one or more stereotypical behaviors of captive dolphins; waiting at the gates, biting the gates, or beaching herself.

You can call MGM corporate at 1-(702)-891-1844 directly to tell them you will boycott until they shut down the dolphin exhibit. You can also contact the Mirage Hotel to voice your concerns at 1-(702)-791-7111.

Join us in October as we protest outside of the Mirage Hotel for ALL animals held within their backyard. October 21st 10am-12pm. Freedom Matters: Protest captivity at the Mirage Las Vegas!