Category Archives: park updates

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Seaworld’s “Beetle” Dolphin Dies in Casino Swimming Pool

In a press statement from MGM, a 12-year old bottlenose dolphin named Beetle died on Oct. 27 of unknown causes. Beetle was the 13th dolphin to die at The Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage in Las Vegas. Historically, this facility has had 22 dolphins — now with a 59 percent mortality rate and an average age of death of 10-years old. Wild dolphins can live to be 50 years or more, concluding that this facility, even with up-to-date filtration systems and temperature-controlled water, restaurant-quality frozen dead fish and a full-time vet, the dolphins in Las Vegas are dying 30 years younger in their captive environment in the desert.

Beetle came to The Mirage in 2010 from SeaWorld Orlando on a long-term breeding loan. Though he never fathered any offspring, The Habitat emphasized in September they would begin breeding all the sexually-mature males. Beetle made news in Orlando for biting a child.

Beetle has been documented on multiple occasions by Free The Mojave Dolphins and Martyn Stewart logging motionless at the gates, chewing on the gates and piping and being aggressive toward other male dolphins.

Because of this behavior, the facility put a plastic kayak in front of the gate to deter Beetle from chewing. The kayak has been chewed as well.

Photo by Terran Baylor

Photo by Terran Baylor

Beetle was also used as one of the main dolphins in the “Paint with a Dolphin Program” where patrons pay to have a dolphin paint on a piece of canvas.

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Beetle was mainly kept in one of the three pools at the Mirage with minimal shade to find refuge in under the sun. Though there is a shade regulation under the Animal Welfare Act ( § 3.127 Facilities, outdoor.(a) Shelter from sunlight. When sunlight is likely to cause overheating or discomfort of the animals, sufficient shade by natural or artificial means shall be provided to allow all animals kept outdoors to protect themselves from direct sunlight.), there have been multiple APHIS inspections, pressure from the community for constructing a structure, and even a verbal commitment from MGM to begin building in Spring 2015. No such structure was ever built.

We would like to make sure Beetle is not replaced by another dolphin. We would like for all breeding to end at The Mirage and to ban any additional importing of dolphins. Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project is currently working on a dolphin sanctuary in Mexico where these dolphins have an open invitation to retire too.

You can call MGM corporate at 1-(702)-891-1844 directly to tell them you will boycott them until they shut down the dolphin exhibit. You can also contact the Dolphin Habitat to voice your concerns at 1-(702)-791-7111, 1-(702)-791-7588, 1-(702)-792-7889

Please also sign the petitions.

RIP Beetle. You are free to roam the skies now and no gate will ever keep you from freedom again.


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Beetle Tweetsheets

#AskSeaworld Campaign

#AskSeaworld @SeaWorld If you care about your animals, why did you dump your “problem” dolphin out in the desert? pic.twitter.com/sQ7gvDGChY

(click here to send tweet)

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#AskSeaworld @SeaWorld if you provide the best care, why are your animals in the desert w/o shade? #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/NBbTbbaS66

(click here to send tweet)

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#AskSeaworld Hey @SeaWorld, how do you feel about Beetle dying @TheMirageLV at the young age of 12? #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/9ahmgDyh2P

(click here to send tweet)

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#AskSeaworld @SeaWorld why did you send dolphins from each of your parks to pools in the desert without shade? pic.twitter.com/diOjuWT0kq

(click here to send tweet)

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Contact Local Vegas Media

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Krystal Allen @KrystalNews3LV

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 John Huck @VegasAnchor

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Rachel Moore @Rachelann_MOORE

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Sandra Gonzalez @SandraGonzalez2

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Nathan O’Neal @NateNews3LV

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Violation Found at Mirage, Needs Reinspection

Earlier this month, Comedian Joe Rogan spoke out against dolphin captivity at The Mirage to The Las Vegas Review Journal.  Rogan, who had a show scheduled at The Mirage Room, a theater that hosts the “Aces of Comedy” comedians decided to switch venues due to his opinions against dolphin captivity.  

The Aces of Comedy is an ongoing show at The Mirage showcasing a lineup of comedians performing at “The Mirage Room”, including the biggest names in comedy.  Comedians such as Jay Leno, Gabriel Iglesias, Nick Swardson, Ray Romano, Ron White, Daniel Tosh and Tim Allen all have upcoming events at The Mirage.

The Mojave Dolphins Campaign has recently heard from comedian Nick Swardson, who is scheduled to perform October 9th, and has agreed to look into the effects of dolphin captivity and the emotional and physical suffering dolphins endure at The Mirage’s Dolphin Habitat.

We at Free The Mojave Dolphins have had a call to action in place to contact the upcoming comedians urging them to do the same as Joe Rogan and change venues for their shows with letter templates and pre-automated tweets directed at each comedian.

The Mirage was inspected by the USDA in late June after a lack of shade complaint was submitted by Mojave Dolphins. The inspection yielded a citing for sanitation under 3.107 (b) of the Animal Welfare act stating “Food preparation/kitchen:  There was a brownish-yellow, raised, foamy substance attached to an area near a pipe at the junction between the wall and the ceiling.”  The citation was to be corrected by 7-16-15 but there has been no follow up from the USDA on whether this sanitation violation has been resolved.  

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The inspection was prepared by USDA, APHIS, and Animal Care Veterinarian Tyler Fields who is a local Las Vegas small animal veterinarian with no known expertise on marine mammals.  
Please use the attached letter template and send to APHIS representative Robert Gibbens at [email protected] asking them to send a qualified Marine Mammal Veterinarian to follow up on the sanitation violation that should have been corrected.


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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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