Over 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.
While 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.
.@robdyrdek #MojaveDolphins are SUFFERING at Mirage. Here are some facts to help you learn. Plz dont promote them pic.twitter.com/J20Dxj0ECG (Tweet)
.@robdyrdek #MojaveDolphins should not be kept in desert swimming pools. Talk to @steveo about why this is wrong! pic.twitter.com/Br1w9GPqaY (Tweet)
.@robdyrdek 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)
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.
Children 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.
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.
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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!