On November 8th, activists from the Las Vegas area gathered in front of the Mirage hotel to give a voice to the dolphins that have died within this facility over the last 24 years.
Over 20 people held signs and passed out educational information about the habitat within the casino in the desert. One activist came as a mermaid, and small children gathered around her to listen to the stories of the dolphins.
We were able to reach a lot of the vehicle traffic on the strip due to a group of motorcycle stunt riders who got stopped by police, causing a traffic jam for almost the entire protest. Our website logged over 200 hits that day.
While some may look at this protest and compare it to last months which had an attendance of over 100 and think we are failing, but that is not the case. The protest in October was a special event with Ric O’Barry where many people traveled from across the country to join in. With every protest, we see return faces, and many new ones. Our local group continues to grow, while online support has gone up by the thousands since May.
Our group collected over $80 in donations that will go towards printing up brand new brochures. Our next protest is on December 6th, and our focus is the dolphin “Rascal” aka “Wizard”. He was born at the habitat and died in 2004 after 3.5 years of life. His cause of death has never been released after a decade. We want answers.
Dirk Arthur is a magician who uses large exotic cats in his act, even though he claims to be for conservation. His menagerie includes ligers, African and snow leopards, white, orange and snow tigers, and a bobcat. He has been cited by the US Department of Agriculture for violating several conditions of the Animal Welfare Act. The cruelties from the last 12 months include:
Declawing lions and tigers (Dec 2013)
Failing to protect a snow leopard from harm by confining the animal to a rusty and unsound enclosure (Dec 2013)
Confining a bobcat with a dangling chain that became caught in the fencing of the enclosure, presenting “a clear hazard” to the animal (Dec 2013)
Cages were far too small for the animals, and were denied access to exercise areas (Dec 2013)
In January, the USDA issued a formal warning about the way the animals were living.
Dirk is one of only a few entertainers anywhere in the world who still choose to use exotic animals in their act. Insurance costs are astronomical, and safety regulations have become extremely tight since Roy Horn was attacked by Montecore on stage during a performance at the Mirage, just 1.2 miles from Dirk’s new stage home.
Dirk has performed in the past at Ballys, the Silverton, the Plaza, The Tropicana, and Osheas here in Las Vegas. Earlier this year, he was performing in both Reno and Laughlin. His return to the strip was tainted when proof of his animal abuse came to light. Caesar’s told him to take a hike, so Dirk traveled up the strip 1.4 miles to the Riviera who hired him.
His shows start in just a few weeks, and he even plans to formalize a program to take to Clark County School District (and others when he travels) to use his animals to teach school children about endangered species. That may sound good on the outside, but it only further perpeutates the idea that we need to use these animals in entertainment acts to teach our children to care about them and respect them. Contradictory.
PETA has organized a peaceful demonstration on Wednesday November 19th from 12-1pm outside of the Riviera near the intersection of the Strip & Riviera blvd. Posters and leaflets will be provided.
It is important that we continue to stop the exploitation of all animals for entertainment purposes here in Las Vegas.
Another month has passed, and Mirage has not made any major improvements for the dolphins at the Mirage. We have chosen to protest on Saturday, November 8th from 3-5pm. We must continue to put pressure on the facility and let our presence be known. This is the first protest after Ric O’Barry visited, so it is very important that Mirage sees that we can still pull the numbers without him.
Our group always meets at the corner of Las Vegas Blvd and the northern entrance to the Mirage hotel. The tourists always come up to this section of the “lake” to take photographs, so try to stand in a long line back against the gate. The tourists will be forced to read our protest signs. If you want to stand by the road to attract the attention of the cars, please be careful to not step off the sidewalk, the buses come very close. We also must stay out of the way of the tourists and not block the foot traffic.
We will bring posters for people to hold, and brochures to pass out. It would help tremendously if you were able to print some brochures and bring them because we will run out of what we have.
A little history on this protest- On November 9th 1978, original Mojave Dolphin Banjo was captured from the wild. He passed away on October 12th 2004. He is father to Sage, Pablo, Rascal, Maverick, and HufNPuf. Pablo was born on November 13th 1996 to Duchess and Banjo. He was transferred to Gulf World on April 9th 2006 for breeding purposes (we received Lightning). Pablo passed away six months later on November 7th 2006.
Most people do not realize how much money goes into making our demonstrations outside of the Mirage Hotel and Casino successful. We are not just trying to get the attention of the hotel, we are trying to get the attention of the locals and tourists that are walking down the strip. We have found one of the most effective ways to get this information to them is a brochure or flyer. Tourists can stuff them into their purse and read them when they are on the plane later, or show them to their friends. Some may think they are a neat souvenir, a clean alternative to what is usually being handed out. Our group has designed several that talk about the horrors of dolphin captivity, gives details about the Mirage death pool, and we even have our own brochures for the Taiji slaughters.
As more activists join the fight, our protests grow in numbers and we reach more people. The protest last week, we handed out over 600 brochures. We would of ran out if one of our dedicated dolphin sisters did not come prepared with her own backup stash. The 600 brochures cost us $120 dollars to print out. That may not sound like a lot of money, but the two of us have ran our funds pretty low the last year and a half.
After much debating, we have decided to accept donations towards protest supplies. Right now the money would go towards the cost to print brochures to hand out. Our next protest is on November 8th.
What an amazing experience this last week was. Where to begin?
On Wednesday, we picked up Ric O’Barry to go do a radio show for KNPR Las Vegas. The interview lasted about 13 minutes, and gave him an opportunity to educate an audience that would probably never go looking for our cause otherwise. The interview has been uploaded online.
Afterwards, My News 3 met us at his hotel for a quick interview. Hotel management came down, asking questions about the interview. We assured them the hotel would not be mentioned, and told them about the cause. Upper management also came down before the interview ended. We were informed that they usually cut these interviews off and do not let them happen. When Ric O’Barry finished his interview, the management team from the hotel shook his hand and said they were big fans. One worker said he got our flyers at his college, and would be attending the showing.
Thursday was the big day. We had been planning this event for 5 months, and couldn’t believe it was finally here. The showing of The Cove with Ric O’Barry. We arrived early, and began to set up the auditorium, while Dolphin Project team members sold merchandise to people waiting. Bikers 4 Orcas Socal provided the tissues with dolphin clips that were seated on your chair when you came inside. Doors opened at 7pm, as our youtube videos played on the big screen. People entered the door to a table with a sign in sheet, petitions, and a jar to place questions to Ric in. After we thanked everyone for attending, especially the Cove Monitors from Taiji, and the movie began to play, silence was heard throughout the theater. Everybody’s eyes were glued to the screen. I forgot how much of an impact this movie has on your soul. 180 people attended the screening overall. One third of the theater had never seen the movie before, and I am positive they walked out of that screening a changed person. Ric answered questions, and people hung on his every word. He spent so much time talking with us, that we had to leave the theater because our time was over. Ric is such a gentle, kind soul. He made sure to talk to as many people as he could, signing autographs and posing for many photos. We hung outside of the theater until the crowd fizzled away to get sleep for the next days protest. ((View photos from event here))
We arrived at the protest around 4:30, and a crowd had already begun to form. Before we knew it, we had over 100 protesters. People traveled from Washington, Utah, California, Arizona, Florida and further to protest for dolphin rights next to the man who started it all. I can’t even count the number of people who said we completed items on their bucket list. Ric O’Barry protested with us the entire 2 hours, giving his expert opinion on all dolphin questions thrown his way. His sign was a replica of the same sign he used back in his opening day demonstration of the Mirage. The message is still the same- Enough is enough! 24 years is a long time to be stranded closer to Death Valley than the ocean from which these dolphins originate. The sidewalk was flooded with people holding signs, and passing out brochures to anyone who was interested. We passed out over 600, and signed hundreds of letters to the MGM head honchos. As the lights on the strip began to sparkle, and the memory of the dolphins were long gone from the minds of the tourists who had seen them earlier in the day, we stood strong, united as a voice for the voiceless. ((View photos from event here))
The protest made the news, and many people have written online about their experience. Our friends at Vegas Rock Dog Radio spoke out about it on her radio show the following day. It starts at about 27:30, click to listen. Thanks for the shoutout, Sam. We really appreciate it, and look forward to working with you again in the future.
We have uploaded all of the photos from both events onto our facebook page, and we are working on getting the video from the Q&A segment from the screening online for everyone to review, or watch for the first time. Please be patient while we get that up. As soon as it is available, you will be the first to know!
We feel forever thankful to have Ric O’Barry set aside time in his schedule and pay us a visit in the middle of the Mojave Desert. This is an experience we will never forget. We are more motivated than ever to do what is right by these 10 dolphins. We hope you are too.
This is a very big week for us here at Mojave Dolphins. On Thursday, we are screening the Academy Award winning documentary “The Cove” for free, and the following night we have a giant protest outside of the Mirage. Both of these events will be attended by none other than Ric O’Barry himself. This is a chance to interview the man who many credit as starting the cetacean rights movement. Ric O’Barry protested the Mirage in the 90’s, and has information about this facility. We feel local media should be covering this event. We have not gotten any media attention from FOX 5, 8 NEWS NOW, or the Las Vegas Weekly.