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.
Just 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.
Children 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.
Children 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.