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

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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)

Seaworld

#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)

Seaworld2

#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)

Seaworld3

#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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Dyrdek and the Desert Dolphins

ROB2Over the weekend of October 17th-18th 2015, Rob Dyrdek uploaded a photo of what appears to be a private gathering at the Mirage Casino Dolphin Habitat after hours. While activsts were out standing out on the strip, educating the tourists about the horrors of dolphin captivity, Rob was gushing about the attire of his guests and the “pod” of dolphins swimming in a small pool in the Mojave desert.

These ten dolphins do not get any relief from extreme temperatures in the summer time. The UV rays burn their skin just like humans. Three of these dolphins belong to SeaWorld, who placed them in the desert hoping they would produce several offspring to further the captive gene pool. These dolphins are subjected to chewing gum in the pools, leaky tanks, left in a beached position for several minutes for photos, and gated away from their family members.

We have noticed during the last 12 months that Viacom (the company that owns many television networks such as Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, LOGO, and Spike) has had several of their network stars directly promoting the dolphin habitat through their social media postings and indirectly through their promotional bookings and showings at the Terry Fator theater inside of the Mirage casino.

ROBFLYERWhile we understand that Rob and Bryiana Noelle Flores were recently married, and we are in no way trying to take away from their special day, we DO want to stress the importance of educating celebrities who choose to boast about such experiences while the animals are left to suffer. Rob and Bryiana are in a very fortunate place in life that has given them a platform to reach hundreds of thousands of people around the globe.

We urge Bryiana and Rob to watch documentaries such as “Blackfish” and “The Cove”, research the effects of captivity on cetaceans, and ask themselves if they really believe that sentient mammals such as dolphins belong in barren swimming pools, hundreds of miles from the ocean in the middle of the driest desert in the country. We ask that they speak to fellow celebrities such as Steve-o (who also received popularity thanks to MTV) and Joe Rogan and listen to their opinion on why they have joined the crusade against cetaceans in captivity.

 

Rob Dyrdek Bryiana Noelle
  1. [email protected] #MojaveDolphins are SUFFERING at Mirage. Here are some facts to help you learn. Plz dont promote them pic.twitter.com/J20Dxj0ECG (Tweet)
  2. [email protected] #MojaveDolphins should not be kept in desert swimming pools. Talk to @steveo about why this is wrong! pic.twitter.com/Br1w9GPqaY (Tweet)
  3. [email protected] Exploiting #MojaveDolphins is not entertaining, funny OR cool. Please consider helping the 10 dolphins pic.twitter.com/jDvYTL1CVM (Tweet)
(If we see her Twitter come back online, we will design some tweet sheets to Bryiana. Stay tuned and be on the look out! In the mean time, feel free to leave polite, information comments on her facebook and instagram pages)

ROB


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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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Mirage School Fieldtrips

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.

POXschoolJust 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.

MirageKidsChildren 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.

MirageKids3Children 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.

Please sign the petition: Clark County School District: Stop Sending Children To The Mirage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30Nm5uv292g


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Celebrities at the Dolphin Death Pool

The Mirage Hotel is amping up their celebrity endorsements this year. We have seen several posts by people of significance promoting the casino and their exploitative dolphin program. A few of the celebrities make money off of the Las Vegas strip, so it is important that we continue to reach them in a polite, factual matter. We must show these celebrities compassion in our messages if we want them to show the same for the dolphins.  People will not take our campaign seriously if we are hurling insults back and forth. We need the campaign to succeed for the sake of the dolphins.

Britney SpearsBritney Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Britney Spears visited the habitat on the same day as our research team, and the same day as our protest on the strip to raise awareness for Maverick. This is the second time that Britney Spears has visited the dolphin habitat at the Mirage Hotel. Britney has visited the hotel in 2010 and 2015. Britney Spears is currently a resident performer at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino, just a couple properties away from the dolphins. It is understandable that she is looking for family friendly entertainment to take her children to while they are in town, but she should be teaching her children to have compassion and respect for animals. You can’t do that while exploiting them in photo ops and swimming while latched onto their dorsal fin.

  • [email protected] Please don’t support dolphin cruelty @TheMirageLV Learn the truth about captivity #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/HJa2HIN2t7 (Tweet This!)
  • [email protected] Don’t become captivated by captivity @TheMirageLV theres no beauty in stolen freedom #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/CYBGWwgIoS (Tweet This!)
  • [email protected] Imagine your kids being kept in a 117°F vegas summer with no shade protection. #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/N5IJR8GvvU (Tweet This!)
  • [email protected] Take the pledge to boycott @TheMirageLV due to cetacean exploitation in the desert #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/ZAA2ezkVKv (Tweet This!)

CakebossBuddy Valastro Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Buddy Valastro is the face behind TLC’s hit show, Cake Boss. Buddy has both a bakery (Carlo’s Bakery) and restaurant (Buddy V’s) at the Venetian on the strip in Las Vegas. He had the young children in his family visit the dolphin habitat on April 8th 2015. These young minds are highly impressionable, and deserve to know the truth about dolphins and how places like the Mirage continue to exploit them for monetary gain, without providing them the simplest of shade structures. Most children would feel heartbroken for the dolphins conditions if they were enlightened to the truth behind the dolphin smile.

  • [email protected] Please don’t support dolphin cruelty @TheMirageLV Learn the truth about captivity #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/cp14PYd455 (Tweet This)
  • [email protected] Don’t become captivated by captivity @TheMirageLV theres no beauty in stolen freedom #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/CYBGWwgIoS (Tweet This)
  • [email protected] Imagine your kids being kept in a 117°F vegas summer with no shade protection. #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/N5IJR8GvvU (Tweet This)
  • [email protected] Take the pledge to boycott @TheMirageLV due to cetacean exploitation in the desert #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/ZAA2ezkVKv (Tweet This)

GNRGuns N Roses Facebook, Twitter

Guns N Roses promoted the Mirage Hotel and their dolphin exploition program on March 18th 2015. Former member Slash has been a musical guest with Kings of Chaos at a benefit for Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project. Former member Matt Sorum is on the Dolphin Project Board of Directors. Matt even has a music video dedicated to dolphins and the ocean. The video for the song “Estranged” by Guns N Roses relied heavily on cetacean imagery, and lead singer Axl Rose was quoted as saying “The dolphins assimilate a state of peace or grace.” A band like this who has been around for several decades has legions of fans, spanning around the entire globe. If Guns N Roses were to get on board with our campaign, the dolphins would get instant worldwide exposure, and the Mirage would be faced from extreme amounts of pressure.

  • [email protected] Please don’t support dolphin cruelty @TheMirageLV Learn the truth about captivity #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/Js5LDZSaJC (Tweet This!)
  • [email protected] Don’t become captivated by captivity @TheMirageLV theres no beauty in stolen freedom #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/CYBGWwgIoS (Tweet This)
  • [email protected] Take the pledge to boycott @TheMirageLV due to cetacean exploitation in the desert #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/ZAA2ezkVKv (Tweet This)

MirageEllenEllen DeGeneres Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TV Show

A few months ago, we blogged about Ellen DeGeneres giving away a trip to the Mirage during her Christmas special. On March 20th 2015, Ellen uploaded a promotion to her website for the Mirage Hotel. She describes the property, but leaves out the fact that animals are being used and abused for your entertainment. Back in 2010, Ellen was outspoken about asking her viewers to watch the heart-wrenching documentary “The Cove” about how dolphins are captured and slaughtered in Taiji, Japan, and how the entire round-up is fueled by the global cetacean captivity industry. The only excuse we can think of for her change of heart is the fact that Mirage (and several other MGM properties) have placed her new slot machines on their casino floor. Greed is the only thing keeping these dolphins from the life they deserve.

  • [email protected] How did you go from promoting #TheCove to advertising dolphin cruelty at @TheMirageLV? #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/ieWn3jUZTm (Tweet This)
  • [email protected] Don’t become captivated by captivity @TheMirageLV theres no beauty in stolen freedom #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/CYBGWwgIoS (Tweet This)
  • [email protected] Imagine your kids being kept in a 117°F vegas summer with no shade protection. #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/N5IJR8GvvU (Tweet This)
  • [email protected] Take the pledge to boycott @TheMirageLV due to cetacean exploitation in the desert #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/ZAA2ezkVKv (Tweet This)

Please reach out to these people and ask them to show some compassion for the dolphins of Las Vegas, and join our campaign. It is imperative that you stay polite, professional, and factual in your outreach. Remember to mention the name of our campaign and the website to find more information at. If you are having issues thinking of what to say, we have provided a sample letter you can use below:

To whom it may concern,

I have recently been informed that you visited the dolphin habitat at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. I am writing to inform you that the morals and ethics of keeping dolphins in captivity has become controversial over the last year, and is increasingly being reflected in public opinion in part due to the popularity of the documentary “Blackfish”.

In case you aren’t aware, scientific evidence has found dolphins to be “self-aware” meaning that they see themselves as individuals, separate from the environment and other individuals. This trait has only been proven among great apes, elephants, orcas, dolphins, European magpies and of course, humans.

The dolphin brain is not only larger than the human brain, but they have a cerebral cortex that is about 40% larger than the human’s. This cortex concerns emotional control, objectivity, reality orientations, humor, logically consistent abstract thought, and higher creativity.Some say that the dolphins are even more emotional than humans. If this is so, how can we ethically confine them to such small living quarters? How would you feel if you lived your life enclosed in a small room?

In the wild, dolphins have complex social lives which cannot be recreated in captivity. Dolphins are wide ranging, intelligent and social animals and no holding pool can be adequate to fill their physical or mental needs, no matter how often they are “trained”.

There are numerous pictures of the #MojaveDolphins displaying unnatural and dangerous behaviors such as lying listless at the gates and beaching themselves. Beaching in the wild only occurs due to extreme stress. The dolphins have spent more than 4 years suffering from an extreme case of the pox virus, a condition that would normally go into remission in the wild.

The death rate of the dolphins at the Mirage Hotel and Casino since 1990 is 55%. 12 out of 22 dolphins have died (mostly from stress related illness). Wild dolphins can live into their 50’s, even 60’s. The average age of death at the Mirage habitat is 10.6 years of age.

Have you ever been to Las Vegas in the middle of summer? Temperatures regularly sore above 110°F, and we have hit the record of 117°F on more than one occasion. These dolphins do not have any protection from the harsh UV rays. The dolphin trainers have been videotaped applying sunscreen to the dolphins. The Animal Welfare Act states that cetaceans kept outdoors should be given a shade structure.

There is a growing grassroots movement in Las Vegas called “Free the Mojave Dolphins” which is focused on bringing attention to the plight of the dolphins trapped at the Mirage hotel. You can find their website at http://www.MojaveDolphins.com.

Please consider joining their cause and becoming a voice for the 10 dolphins in Las Vegas. Thank you.


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