Seaside Sanctuary for Baltimore Dolphins

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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


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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.


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The Cards Are In Your Hands, Bill Maher

BillMaherIt has been brought to our attention that comedian Bill Maher is set to perform at the Mirage in just a few days. This is a big deal because Bill Maher is an animal rights activist, and a celebrity PETA supporter. PETA actively condemns The Mirage and their use of dolphins as aquatic circus entertainers in the middle of the Mojave Desert. How did the controversey surrounding this venue and their use of animals for profit manage to slip through the cracks at the hands of Bill Mahers management team?

BillMaherBill Maher has said that he is a “big animal rights guy”, and has been an outspoken animal rights activist for decades. He has worked with groups such as PETA, Best Friends Animal Society, and Farm Animal Rights Movement. His show “Real Time with Bill Maher” has seen guests such as John Hargrove and Paul Watson, two outspoken cetacean rights advocates. Bill Maher once told McLean’s manazine that he finds “any form of animal destruction” to be the saddest thing in the world.

BillMaher2

The 9 remaining dolphins at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas are just weeks away from scorching summer temperatures here in the Mojave Desert where their captors, MGM Resorts International, refuse to build them a shade structure. Animal Welfare Act regulations state under 9CFR Section 3.103(b) Facilities, Outdoor, Shelter: Natural or artificial shelter which is appropriate for the species concerned, when local climatic conditions are taken into consideration, shall be provided for all marine mammals kept outdoors to afford them protection from the weather or from direct sunlight.

ROGAN3Fellow comedian Joe Rogan pledged last year to not perform at the Mirage Hotel, due to the request of his fans who understood his love of dolphins. Nick Swardson said he was going to look into the case of MGM Resorts and the Fuzzy Dolphin Math but has apparently gone back on his word. He is scheduled to perform on April 2nd 2016. Matt Sorum, of Guns N’ Roses fame, had this to say about the dolphin prison in the desert: “I was offered to do my wedding with my wife, Ace, at The Mirage three years ago, but turned them down due to the suffering of the dolphins kept there. To think about these magical creatures in the middle of the desert forced to perform and swim with humans for entertainment…It didn’t feel like a place we wanted to celebrate our most special day. The Mirage needs to close this dolphin abusement facility immediately. The desert and/or a swimming pool is no place for dolphins. Please boycott The Mirage Hotel.”

We urge Bill Maher to please be the celebrity voice that these dolphins desperately deserve. 25 years is far too long for Atlantic bottlenose dolphins to be held prisoner in the middle of the Mojave desert. What happens in Las Vegas in the backyard at the Mirage Casino needs to be shown to the world.

  1. [email protected] How can you be playing @TheMirageLV where 9 #mojavedolphins are held captive in the DESERT? pic.twitter.com/hyzztjbRWW (Tweet This)
  2. [email protected] Cruelty is not entertainment. Please be a voice for the #MojaveDolphins trapped at @TheMirageLV pic.twitter.com/xHWlsGWJeR (Tweet This)
  3. [email protected], @joerogan took a stand for #MojaveDolphins, WILL YOU? bit.ly/1SjWQn8 Dolphins in the desert? pic.twitter.com/VzZuuk5RYI (Tweet This)

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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.

beetle15

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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Dolphin Pox Virus Disappearing After 4+ Years

Maverick, December 2012

Maverick, December 2012

The outbreak of the dolphin pox virus at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas that began more than four years ago may be finally coming to a close.

The disease is said to have gotten its start when Cosmo, the male dolphin born at SeaWorld Orlando, was transferred to the Mirage on March 28th 2010. He stayed at the habitat in the desert until December 6th 2013, when he was shipped to San Diego, and eventually to one of the many dolphin prisons in Florida.

Maverick, August 2014

Maverick, August 2014

When a Mirage trainer was questioned about Maverick’s condition earlier this month, she responded saying that once Cosmo arrived in San Diego with warmer waters, his virus began to clear up so they applied the same techniques here (Which would mean that the poxvirus should be gone at Seaworld San Diego and Seaworld Orlando…)She also said the Mirage habitat water is currently reading at about 78F.

Funny that such a simple solution took more than four years for the vet staff in charge of the dolphins at Mirage (and even longer for the dolphins at Seaworld) to come up with and apply. With our limited resources here at MojaveDolphins.Com, we were able to come to the conclusion that water temperature and salinity were the major factors that needed to be looked into.

Maverick, January 2015

Maverick, January 2015

The Mirage dolphin habitat was inspected by the government not one, not two, but FIVE times last year. Why is it that the government saw nothing wrong with visually ill dolphins swimming around in tanks with chipped paint and no protection from the harsh environment that is the Mojave desert?

The waves are finally starting to roll in the last two years. We have seen an explosion of people joining the fight for cetacean rights. Movies like “The Cove” and “Blackfish” are causing people to see that these sentient mammals deserve our respect.

Maverick, and all other dolphins in captivity around the globe, may look happier to the naked eye because they are not covered in lesions, but remember to tell your family and friends that this is not the case. The dolphins at the Mirage do not deserve to live the remainder of their life in a concrete swimming pool in the middle of the desert.

 


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