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.
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.
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 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:
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.
On Saturday January 17th, Las Vegas animal rights activists will descend upon the Las Vegas strip to occupy the space in front of the exploding Mirage volcano. This is a very popular photo spot for the tourists. Every night starting at 5pm, the volcano erupts on the hour and half hour. During our two hour protest, the volcano will erupt with fire and loud noise 5 times. Tourists will be fixated on our protest spot trying to catch a glimpse of the volcano. In the process, they will forced to read our messages. This was proven to be an effective protest method in January. Our main goal is to cover as much space along the volcano as possible. Spread out!
For our dolphin friends who do not live close enough to travel to our protests, we ask that you spend the two hours (or whatever time you can allocate, whenever) tweeting to the Mirage Hotel and Casino. We have made up a tweet sheet, but as always, you can send your own messages. Feel free to grab images from our social media accounts. Stay polite and factual.
On January 17th, cetacean rights activists from around the world will descend on the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park near Miami Seaquarium beginning at 8am EST. The crowd is coming together to show Miami Seaquarium how many people are pushing for Lolita’s release from the captive slave park. The event includes vendors selling merchandise which help support the movement globally, key speakers like Howard Garrett, Jane Velez Mitchell, and Dr. Naomi Rose plus a silent march beginning at 10am sharp. The march will walk around the south side of the Rickenbacker Causeway. To get all of the information about the event and the itinerary for the day, visit the event page: Miracle March For Lolita
Who is Lolita and why all of the fuss? Lolita (also named Tokitae) is rumored to be from the L-Pod of the endangered Southern Resident orcas with L-25 Ocean Sun as her mother. Lolita was captured from Penn Cove, Washington on August 8th 1970 along with 80 other orca. The orca were spotted by plane, boats raced in circles, and bombs were even set off. The group split up, trying to get away. One group was initially captured, and the second group came to their location later. 8 of these orca were sold to marine parks around the world. These orca became known as Lil Nooka, Ramu 4, Wally, Clovis, Chappy, Jumbo, Winston (Aka Ramu) and of course, Lolita- the lone survivor to this day. Other orca faced an even worse fate- 5 of the killer whales drowned during the stressful capture. 4 of those 5 were young babies who tried to charge at their mothers on the other side of the gate. Ted Griffin and Don Goldsberry tried to cover this up by filling the babies stomachs with rocks and anchors, sinking them out in the ocean. 3 of the babies washed up on shore, causing an outrage with the citizens. SeaWorld was taken to court and had to agree to never capture orca in Washington state ever again. Witnesses to this capture say the whales were making noises they will never forget- screaming out to one another in distress.
Lolita was purchased by the Miami Seaquarium to be a tank mate for their other orca captured in the same location a few years prior named Hugo. Miami Seaquarium was even nice enough (catch my sarcasm, please) to build a larger tank for the two of them so they would not have to share Hugo’s current vomit-inducing small tank known as the “Celebrity Pool“. This pool is currently used to house manatees. The new pool is appropriately named the “Whale Bowl“. This new tank is only 35x80x20 ft, and deemed illegal according to standards set in the Animal Welfare Act. Lolita was placed in the Whale Bowl as soon as she arrived, but Hugo had to stay isolated from her due to fear that they would fight. The two of them were constantly vocalizing to each other. No one knew at the time that these two orca were most likely from the same pod. Eventually they were put together, performing in numerous shows and even mating a few times (with no successful pregnancies) before Hugo killed himself by bashing his head against the side of his tank one too many times. His body was then taken from the park and placed into the Dade County Dump.
Lolita has shown signs of aggression. Her and Hugo attacked trainer Chip Kirk in the 1970s. Hugo left a scar on his arm, and the two of them ripped up his wetsuit. Hugo also would show aggression towards the trainers during performances. Eventually MSQ did not want to work with him anymore and were training Lolita to be used as his replacement.
Lolita has continued to perform in shows for over 40 years. That means that the Miami Seaquarium has made over $160million USD from her. Don’t you think she deserves to go home? She belongs to the most studied group of orca on the planet, the Southern Residents. Lolita is the only Southern Resident currently in captivity. There is an extremely detailed retirement/release plan set up for her if Miami Seaquarium would ever give her the chance to thrive in the world she belongs in.
The Miami Seaquarium (or Seaprison, your choice) opened it’s doors on September 24th 1955, making this the oldest marine park in the United States. That is no excuse for their poorly thought out idea of an orca tank. Over 500,000 people visit this park annually, lining the pockets of the owners with money every day. This park is so greedy they even applied for a permit to recapture Keiko from the wild to be a mate for Lolita!
When the Miami Seaquarium first opened, they were the largest sea park in the entire world. They gained much popularity when the TV show Flipper & 2 movies were filmed at the Seaquarium. Ric O’Barry was a trainer and stunt double for the franchise. After he watched the star dolphin Kathy die from what he believed to be a suicide, he vowed to become a cetacean rights activist.
The Miami Seaquarium has had more cetacean deaths than I can count, both wild and captive born. Included in that list are sperm whales, a beaked whale, and 7 other pacific white sided dolphins.
Miami Seaquarium has promised on several occasions to build Lolita a new tank, but they have never came through.
Lolita is perhaps the only orca in North America that has a chance at survival outside of her tank. She has performed for us for over 44 years. We must continue to fight for her freedom, her chance to rejoin her family (whos calls she has responded to in the past). Join the movement, Retire Lolita, Free Tokitae!
Picabo gave birth to a male dolphin at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on May 15th 2001. Less than 4 years later, that dolphin calf had passed away from unknown reasons. His name was Rascal, or as Steve Wynn affectionately referred to him, Wizard, named after the dolphin’s father and original mojave dolphin, Merlin. His death rounded off 2004 with 4 cetacean fatalities within the Mojave desert.
Sigma was captured in 1975 from the waters of Texas, and she lived for almost 30 years in captivity. Her final swim was on March 21st 2004. Picabo was captive born, one of the first to take place at the Mirage habitat. Named after the US Olympic skiier, Picabo Street, she was born March 14th 1994. She only lived to be about 10 years old, passing away from acture septic peritonitis on July 6th 2004. Bugsy was born two weeks after Picabo on March 31st 1994. He passed away from a pulmonary abcess on July 2nd 2004, 4 days before Picabo. Picabo’s son, Rascal, passed away from a cause yet to be determined on December 3rd 2004. What happened within those pools in the year of 2004?????????
Protesters took to the Las Vegas strip on December 6th 2014 to alert the public that their money being spent at the Mirage is funding the abuse of cetaceans. Thirty activists lined themselves up along the gate in front of the iconic exploding volcano outside of the Mirage hotel. As the volcano erupted, tourists eyes were drawn as if by a magnet, to our signs in front of the action. Many people are completely shocked to find out that this hotel is keeping aquatic animals.
If this group existed a decade ago, we could of shut the dolphin habitat down. Four deaths in one year is outrageous. Mirage needs to feel the heat. Jim Murren, the CEO of MGM resorts, has told Free the Mojave Dolphins and Ric O’Barry that he plans to get shade up for the dolphins in 2015. Temperatures are currently frosty, but summer is fast approaching. These dolphins cannot go another year without any protection from the harsh environment.
Continue to contact the Mirage with your questions and complaints about the way they are choosing to make their money in a desert environment. Voice your concerns over the telephone at 702-791-7111. You can email Jim Murren, the CEO of MGM resorts at [email protected] or you can direct your emails to the person in charge of public relations Yvette Monet [email protected]Push for them to arrange a meeting between Ric O’Barry and Jim Murren. We keep being declined.
Have you heard of the magician Dirk Arthur? It seems that many people haven’t, but that didn’t stop the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from hiring him on as their new act. Has the city already forgotten the horrible accident last decade with Roy Horn and his beloved Mantecore? Dirk is one of only a few performers left around the globe that continue to use exotic animals in their act. He was recently dropped from Caeser’s Entertainment Corporation, ending his shows at the Harrah’s casinos in both Laughlin and Reno, Nevada. Together, we can push the Riviera to drop his act from their bill.
Dirk Arthur says he is for conservation, but he has recently 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.
Activists gathered on Wednesday November 19th outside of the casino on the Las Vegas strip to protest Riviera’s involvement with Dirk Arthur. His show officially starts on December 1st, so local activists have come together to plan a 3 day long public awareness event taking place just feet from the open casino floor. Get together with your family and friends to show your support for the animals who are forced to perform 6 days a week. We will be meeting Saturday Nov 29th: 3:00-5:00pm. Sunday November 30th: 3:00pm-5:00pm. Monday December 1st 5:00-7:00pm. Posters will be provided, but in limited supply. Feel free to create your own. You can also help us raise awareness by dressing in animal costume/face paint. We welcome all forms of your creativity.
Please leave comments on the social media pages belonging to the Riviera Hotel and Casino–