Contaminants in the Dolphin Death Pool

Contaminants in the Dolphin Death Pool

We were horrified at what we witnessed inside the dolphin death pools at the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas in February: chewing gum and a chicken nugget.

Gum in the Mirage pool, Feb 2015.
Gum in the Mirage pool, Feb 2015.

I was photographing Beetle biting at the gate (like he usually is every time I see him now) when a small child who was talking to the trainer stationed near where the main and center pools meet exclaimed “There’s chewing gum in the pool!”. I looked down.. and he wasn’t kidding. Some tourist had spit their gum right into the pool. I photographed it and moved back. The trainer did not seem to notice. She continued her conversation with the child who did not mention it again.

Chicken nugget in the Mirage pool, Feb 2015.
Chicken nugget in the Mirage pool, Feb 2015.

I moved closer to the bend of the main pool near the snack shop, watching for reactions from the crowd and educators. I should of been looking in the pool. The educators should of been looking in the pool. Another guest walks by and exclaims “Is that a chicken nugget?” My eyes instantly dart down. There it was. A half eaten chicken nugget.

At this point, I could not sit back and silently collect information. I had to alert the educators to the contaminants in the pool.

Situations like these could turn deadly for the dolphins who are trapped in a hotel swimming pool in the Mojave desert.

A 5 year old dolphin named Ying-Ying swallowed steel wool, causing gastric mucosal hemorrhage.

Nami in her cove in Taiji, Japan.
Nami in her cove in Taiji, Japan.

Nami was the name of an orca on display at the Taiji Whale Museum in Japan. Over the course of her life in captivity, she swallowed over 154 pounds of stones. The biggest stone was nearly 7 inches and weighed 4.5 pounds.

Miami Seaquarium had a dolphin named Poncho in the 1980s. He died after eating 2 deflated footballs, 31 coins, 21 stones, 2 screws, 1 training whistle, 1 ten penny nail, 1 metal tag, 1 piece of wire, 1 metal staple and several other unidentifiable objects.

Jim Horton, a marine park employee for 16 years, went on the record to talk about dolphins at Seaworld being poisoned to death from eating coins…

Jim Horton: People were throwing coins in the pools all the time. Idiots. We had one young one year old [dolphin] that turned white. And we thought it was some kind of genetic mutation. The animal died during the day. So we pulled him out and put him on a cart, spraying him with water and rubbing him down so it looked like he was still alive while we were going through park. What we found out was that the white dolphin had a stomach full of coins and rings and jewelry. Everything was perfectly shiny except the pennies. They were the only things that were dissolving.

After 1982, I think, they started making pennies out of zinc and coating them in copper. So it was zinc poisoning. The zinc killed the dolphin. We had another dolphin in there, a young calf, that ate four coffee cans of coins and jewelry. It took six months to get all the coins out of her stomach…..The animal’s stomach was completely full of coins. And sharp, pointy stuff, like name tags or brooches. Baby pacifiers were big. There would be a wad of baby pacifiers and a bunch of paint chips from the pool, and stuff like that blocking the intestine.

Keto having an endoscopy performed on him.
Keto having an endoscopy performed on him.

In 2006, Keto, Skyla and Kohana underwent endoscopies to examine their stomach after eating paint chips from the pool. An endoscopy requires trainers to restrain the animal, insert a bit into their mouth, and wire a camera down into their gastrointestinal tract to look for blockages. See a short video here.

Winnie was a 26 year old orca at Seaworld San Antonio in Texas who died after eating tiles, coins, nuts, bolts and other objects making up a 12 pound blockage.

Mirage does what every marine park does- sells their beverages without bottle tops and other small items so you are unable to throw them into the pool, but they do not restrict you on bringing in your own food and objects. Parents are often guilty of allowing their children to eat in public places and play with toys in an attempt to keep them calm and civil. Children are also careless and do not understand consequences. They can and will throw things into dolphin pools.

A child sits with her legs in the dolphin pool at the Mirage
A child sits with her legs in the dolphin pool at the Mirage

I’m extremely concerned about the low pool walls in Las Vegas. Tourists are often highly intoxicated in this town, and ready to try the first thing that pops into their head. In 2012, students visiting while on break from studying law at UC Berkeley chased one of the exotic birds on display at the Flamingo hotel into the pushes and beheaded it.

Foreign object contamination is a “normal thing” for captive dolphins, and one of the strong arguments one can make against exploiting these creatures in pools.

This time it was a chicken nugget and chewing gum, but tomorrow it could be anything. Please do not visit any captive dolphin facility and persuade your family and friends to do the same. Dolphins are dying to entertain you.


Breaking Ground on TBS “Ground Floor”

Has the Mojave Dolphins movement finally broken into the mainstream after 25 years?

groundfloor

Last night TBS aired an episode of their show Ground Floor titled “The Proposal – Part one (S2E09”). The episode stars Skylar Astin and Briga Heelan as Brody and Jenny respectively. It’s Brody’s birthday, and Jenny is trying to find the perfect gift. She is pointed to his old MySpace page which contains a list of things Brody had wanted to accomplish before he turned 30. The group will be in Vegas for a wedding, so Jenny decides to take Brody to the Mirage to swim with the dolphins.

The actual trip to the dolphin habitat is not shown on screen, nor is the facility or hotel mentioned by their name. When you see Jenny and Brody again, their conversation goes something like this:

Jenny: “I thought we were going to have luck swimming with the dolphins, but those dolphins just look too sad!”
Brody: “It’s almost like they don’t love living in the desert!”

Brody speaks the truth that we all have been shouting for over two decades. Dolphins do not belong swimming in concrete pools in the middle of the Mojave desert, hundreds of miles from their natural habitat.

This brilliant episode shows how far the movement for cetacean rights has come, and specifically the issue here in the Mojave desert. The dolphins have been suffering in this hotel for 25 years, and it has only been recently that the hotel has started to take notice to the shift in the public’s awareness on how they are treating these sentient creatures. All we need for this to be a successful breakthrough is one person to decide to not attend the Mirage Hotel and Casino due their treatment of dolphins.

The team here at MojaveDolphins.Com would like to thank the following people for their involvement in this scene and we apologize to anyone we may of missed: Bill Lawrence, Greg Malins, Eric Dean Seaton, David J Booth, Jason Belleville, Skylar Astin and Briga Heelan.

We have every reason to believe that someone on the team of Ground Floor has heard about our cause, and we are very thankful for the shout out on national television. We look forward to gaining the support of many more influential people in the future.

Please take the time to send a thank you note to the people involved in the making of the episode. Let them know how much it meant to you to see a show finally take a step in the right direction. Also, reminder, if you will be in Las Vegas on 2/28, our next protest is from 4:00 to 6:00 pm!

Mini Tweetsheet to Ground Floor cast & crew

Just click on the tweets & they will open up in a new window, already typed up for you. Just hit send!

Groundfloor2


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.

 


#OccupyMirageVolcano tweetsheet

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.

  • Las Vegas Protest: #OccupyMirageVolcano @TheMirageLV 1/17 5-7pm. Sister event 2 #MiracleMarch4Lolita. #MOJAVEDOLPHINS pic.twitter.com/FjNkaqrefQ (Tweet This!)

     

  • #MojaveDolphins @TheMirageLV suffer w/ #poxvirus aka #dolphinpox. #OccupyMirageVolcano for Cetacean Rights. pic.twitter.com/e4PAbOJcYC (Tweet This!)

     

  • #MojaveDolphins will #OccupyMirageVolcano until @TheMirageLV provides shade for dolphins in intense 110F+ summers. pic.twitter.com/tn41GcbOol (Tweet This!)

     

  • Nobody wants to support business with sick #MojaveDolphins on display for profit, @TheMirageLV. #OccupyMirageVolcano pic.twitter.com/S9SHYADg7X (Tweet This!)

     

  • After 24 yrs, it’s time for @TheMirageLV to reinvent themselves without live animals. #OccupyMirageVolcano. pic.twitter.com/AYq3LOfQbQ (Tweet This!)

     

  • Not 2 late 4 @TheMirageLV 2 Be Rehab/Release Facility! @RichardOBarry #MojaveDolphins #OccupyMirageVolcano pic.twitter.com/l9fRvtJPHi (Tweet This!)

     

  • It is unethical to be breeding #mojavedolphins in the middle of the harsh desert, @TheMirageLV #OccupyMirageVolcano pic.twitter.com/H1aXchye6q (Tweet This!)

     

  • Myself & Everyone I know will be boycotting @TheMirageLV until they cease the breeding program & provide shade. #OccupyMirageVolcano (Tweet This!)

     

  • #MojaveDolphins are forced to swim in small repetitive circles @TheMirageLV. This is torture. #OccupyMirageVolcano pic.twitter.com/kP8VuT2tpl (Tweet This!)

     

  • Don’t become captivated by #MojaveDolphins @TheMirageLV. There is no beauty in stolen freedom. #OccupyMirageVolcano pic.twitter.com/YQKozOJw76 (Tweet This!)

     

  • Not stopping battle @RichardOBarry started 24 years ago. We’ll #OccupyMirageVolcano for cetacean rights. @TheMirageLV pic.twitter.com/NjIdcX3ULT (Tweet This!)

     

  • Kids are our future, and they know right from wrong. You should listen to them, @TheMirageLV. #OccupyMirageVolcano pic.twitter.com/gw5YNsc0os (Tweet This!)

     

  • We stand strong outside @TheMirageLV, #OccupyMirageVolcano. #MojaveDolphins are being used as slaves. Do not support. pic.twitter.com/u51FtMTfKy (Tweet This!)

     

  • The company @MGMResortsIntl refuses to provide shade for #MojaveDolphins @TheMirageLV #OccupyMirageVolcano. Boycott. pic.twitter.com/C1DxMynWcw (Tweet This!)

     

  • Why can’t @MGMResortsIntl afford for @TheMirageLV to fix the peeling paint in #DolphinDeathPool? #OccupyMirageVolcano pic.twitter.com/JgOOXECMeg (Tweet This!)

     

  • Why does @MGMResortsIntl provide misters for ppl @TheMirageLV but no shade 4 WORKING animals? #OccupyMirageVolcano pic.twitter.com/5vyGjgNXPN (Tweet This!)

     

  • The @MGMResortsIntl allows @TheMirageLV to house incompatible dolphins for profit. #OccupyMirageVolcano. 🙁 dislike pic.twitter.com/118SGqb3FD (Tweet This!)
  • Protesters outside @MGMResortsIntl @TheMirageLV in Las Vegas on the strip https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWV6RheAFUE #OccupyMirageVolcano #MojaveDolphins (Tweet This!)
  • #CallToAction: No More #MojaveDolphins Swimming in Las Vegas. http://chn.ge/1lturWj 80,000 Voices & Counting! (Tweet This!
  • #CallToAction: Say NO to Yoga @TheMirageLV with #MojaveDolphins http://chn.ge/1xAHcKY Yoga=NonHarming&Compassion! pic.twitter.com/eIs7YDEA8N (Tweet This!) 

     

  • #CallToAction: @ClarkCountySch Stop Sending Kids to @TheMirageLV Habitat http://chn.ge/1lYUEDe #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/vSsbvSEmdZ (Tweet This!)

     

  • #CallToAction: @USDA_APHIS Investigate @TheMirageLV & Enforce AWA 3.103(b) http://chn.ge/1qIRkMB @FinsandFluke pic.twitter.com/xVugGGATtV (Tweet This!) 

     

  • #CallToAction: @MGMResortsIntl Don’t Open #StingrayCove @TheMirageLV! http://chn.ge/1lYVqjL #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/7VJFLZKNjc (Tweet This!)

     

  • #Call To Action: @MGMResortsINTL Retire #MojaveDolphins To Ocean Sanctuary! @TheMirageLV pic.twitter.com/wTObT7mQrg http://chn.ge/1vLqzHn (Tweet This!) 

     

  • #CallToAction: #MojaveDolphins Petition List! Lend Your Voice Against @TheMirageLV http://bit.ly/1lYVYGn pic.twitter.com/x9ZVi0zVwn (Tweet This!)

Ellen Degeneres and the Mirage giveaway.

Ellen Degeneres is known as a very kind and generous woman. She is always helping out wherever she can, and that includes helping animals.

Ellen has also been outspoken about wanting to get people to watch the documentary “The Cove”. She’s had Hayden Panettiere on her show, tweeted about The Cove, and mentioned the documentary on her movie pick on her website.

Ellen Degeneres is giving away a trip to the infamous Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas as part of her 12 days of Christmas special. She has also given away trips to other casinos like the SLS and Planet Hollywood. She is aware of what happens to dolphins in captivity, and why it is wrong.. but she is most likely oblivious to the fact that Mirage is housing dolphins in the desert in a facility that chooses not to provide them with any type of shade structure during summers of 117F because “there is no shade in the ocean”.

The 10 dolphins that are suffering here in the Mojave desert could really use someone with a voice like Ellen to speak up for them and make some noise. We are certain if Ellen saw the pictures of Maverick and his eye surrounded by poxvirus, the lack of shade, and how many of us are picketing outside the Mirage to get the dolphins better care that it would really pull at her heartstrings. This could be the big break the dolphins need.

We also ask that Ellen please reconsider changing the venue in her prize pack from the Mirage to another hotel that is more animal friendly. Sign the petition to show her how many people care: Ellen DeGeneres: Change MGM Mirage Prize-Mirage has virus infected dolphins in captivity

We need to reach her on all of her social media accounts. Please send in your own polite comments to Ellen in any way you can think of reaching her. We will provide some options below:

Please feel free to use any photos from our facebook account to help get your message across. Visual aides will show her what you mean when you say “poxvirus” or “pox”, etc.

Tweetsheet for @TheEllenShow 

  • [email protected] Happy Holidays! Can U plz change day10 gift 2 an animal friendly hotel?#MojaveDolphins are suffering.. pic.twitter.com/P6ZS5CzjeJ (Tweet This!)
  •  [email protected] remember #TheCove movie? #MojaveDolphins are suffering @TheMirageLV. Plz reconsider day 10 prize. pic.twitter.com/5dXicWWGZe (Tweet This!)
  •  [email protected] Thx U 4 all U do 4 animals. Can U plz help the 10 #MojaveDolphins @TheMirageLV escape the desert? pic.twitter.com/HonDEb6kIy (Tweet This!)
  •  [email protected]how Can U spare 90 seconds to learn about 10 #mojavedolphins stuck @TheMirageLV that was on UR show? bit.ly/1p638mA (Tweet This!)
  •  [email protected] Did you know that you gave away a prize to the same hotel that houses the American #DolphinDeathPool? pic.twitter.com/LZ3uXRHern (Tweet This!)
  •  [email protected] Maverick #MojaveDolphin @TheMirageLV who is suffering from #poxvirus Doesnt that break ur heart? pic.twitter.com/Ys0HjqrzRI (Tweet This!)
  •  [email protected] Have U ever been to Vegas in summer? It gets so hot! #MojaveDolphins have no shade. Can u help? pic.twitter.com/VdvIGucnkJ (Tweet This!)
  •  [email protected] PLZ don’t gift animal abuse this Xmas. Change UR @TheMirageLV prize. #MojaveDolphins need UR help! pic.twitter.com/Y3Ahjm6gFE (Tweet This!)
  •  [email protected] #MojaveDolphins are NOT happy! PLZ watch video & consider changing ur prize! youtube.com/watch?v=of3Dnz… pic.twitter.com/XkxVy7dhUn (Tweet This!)
  • [email protected] Local Las Vegas news reporting on the horrible conditions of @TheMirageLV. http://bit.ly/WdFZIx #MojaveDolphins (Tweet This!)
  •  [email protected] Poxvirus is spreading rapidly throughout @TheMirageLV These animals NEED ur voice to speak out for them https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msRn_ZKNqT8 (Tweet This!)
  •  [email protected] Protesters gather outside @TheMirageLV due to animal abuse. Will u consider changing ur prize? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWV6RheAFUE&list=UUMr6GLn41E7-amgGr1v73dg (Tweet This!)
  •  [email protected] Remember how touched U were about dolphins & #TheCove? Remember that when U promote @TheMirageLV! pic.twitter.com/R2SF0GrkZL (Tweet This!)
  •  [email protected] Dolphins do not behave naturally in captivity. Plz reconsider your prize package with @TheMirageLV. pic.twitter.com/RUhJlQaZYw (Tweet This!)
  •  [email protected] plz consider a different hotel for ur prize pack. #MojaveDolphins are very stressed in the desert. pic.twitter.com/na3iJCEeL2 (Tweet This!)
  •  [email protected] See those spots? Thats #PoxVirus/#DolphinPox. Stress plays a big role. Learn more #MojaveDolphins.com pic.twitter.com/91cyuzu0Jq (Tweet This!)
  •  [email protected] Did you know that @TheMirageLV houses 10 dolphins in the MOJAVE DESERT? isn’t that absurd? Can u help? pic.twitter.com/WsyEGR4ezE (Tweet This!)

Rascal’s 10 Year Secret.

IMG_4368Picabo 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.

IMG_4354Sigma 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?????????

IMG_4416Protesters 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.

IMG_4315If 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.

IMG_4380Continue 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.

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