The annual hunt of small cetaceans in Taiji, Japan began about two weeks ago on Sept. 1st 2015. We were blessed with 10 straight days of “Cove Blue” – meaning that the dolphins were safe in the ocean, swimming free with their pods away from hunters grasp. Tonight the ocean ran “Cove Red” – dolphins were captured and slaughtered.
The first pod was captured on Sept 11th 2015 – a pod of Rissos. This is horrible news!
This needs to get global attention. Tell your family, tell your friends, tell your local news. There is a tweet sheet being passed around to activists to help get the word out for all 4 types of situations. Please follow Act now for Dolphins: Unite against the Taiji Slaughter and lend your voice below:
Two days ago, dolphin activists from around the west coast gathered in front of the Mirage volcano to voice their concerns over the continuance of the Taiji dolphin drives in Japan during the global Japan Dolphins Day event. These hunts happen from September 1st through March, with over a thousand dolphins being slaughtered brutally in front of their pod members for their meat each year. The captivity industry is tied to the hunt. Aquariums around the world visit the killing cove to hand select the dolphins they deem perfect for public display. Las Vegas was successful in speaking on the Taiji dolphins behalf, handing out fliers to all the tourists who passed by hoping to catch a glimpse of the volcano eruption. We were shocked when we saw a LED billboard truck going up and down the strip displaying an anti-captivity message about dolphins and the cove.
Earlier this year, WAZA (World Associations of Zoos and Aquariums) was being faced with a lawsuit by a coalition of Japanese animal welfare organizations (along with the Dolphin Project and OceanCare) and finally suspended JAZA (Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums) for purchasing dolphins coming from the Taiji dolphin drives. JAZA strives to remain part of WAZA for the trade of international animals other than dolphins, so JAZA promised to not source anymore animals from Taiji, and WAZA accepted them back into the family. JAZA accredited facilities are not to be taking any animals from Taiji this season if they wish to stay accredited by WAZA.
The annual hunt of small cetaceans in Taiji, Japan began today on Sept. 1st 2015. The cove was blue due to storms.The dolphins were able to swim safe and free…..
Ric O’Barry, Founder/Director of Dolphin Project was arrested in the town of Nachikatsuura, a town located in Wakayama Prefecture, Japan at approximately 8:30 p.m. on August 31, 2015 on suspicion of a violation of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act of Japan. He was reportedly accused of being unable to produce a passport. According to the act, any alien in Japan shall carry on his/her person at all times the passport or provisional landing permit. He is currently being held by Shingu police. Both the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and the U.S. State Department have been contacted.
Please keep the dolphins of Taiji and the Dolphin Project team in your thoughts for the next 180+ days.
Here are the tweetsheets that were passed around last year to use on those awful days when the cove runs red.
Pod Driven Toward Cove – Use this page when a pod of dolphins is currently being driven towards to the killing cove.
Pod Trapped In Cove– Once the killers have netted the dolphins into the cove, start sending out these alerts.
Blood in the Water– I can’t even write about this without a heavy feeling in my heart. These tweets let media know that dolphins have now died in the waters of Taiji.
Pod Trapped Overnight – Dolphins will be trapped in the killing cove overnight, sometimes for days in a row. This adds even more stress to the dolphins.
The dolphins of Taiji are unable to use their voice to help themselves. These dolphins do not belong to Japan. They belong to the people of the world. We do not want anymore dolphins to be driven, sold into captivity, or slaughtered for human consumption. We must take it upon ourselves to educate the people and the media to this inhumane practice.
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 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.
.@britneyspears Please don’t support dolphin cruelty @TheMirageLV Learn the truth about captivity #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/HJa2HIN2t7 (Tweet This!)
.@britneyspears Don’t become captivated by captivity @TheMirageLV theres no beauty in stolen freedom #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/CYBGWwgIoS (Tweet This!)
.@britneyspears Imagine your kids being kept in a 117°F vegas summer with no shade protection. #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/N5IJR8GvvU (Tweet This!)
.@britneyspears Take the pledge to boycott @TheMirageLV due to cetacean exploitation in the desert #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/ZAA2ezkVKv (Tweet This!)
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.
.@CakeBossBuddy Please don’t support dolphin cruelty @TheMirageLV Learn the truth about captivity #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/cp14PYd455 (Tweet This)
.@CakeBossBuddy Don’t become captivated by captivity @TheMirageLV theres no beauty in stolen freedom #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/CYBGWwgIoS (Tweet This)
.@CakeBossBuddy Imagine your kids being kept in a 117°F vegas summer with no shade protection. #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/N5IJR8GvvU (Tweet This)
.@CakeBossBuddy Take the pledge to boycott @TheMirageLV due to cetacean exploitation in the desert #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/ZAA2ezkVKv (Tweet This)
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.
.@gunsnroses Please don’t support dolphin cruelty @TheMirageLV Learn the truth about captivity #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/Js5LDZSaJC (Tweet This!)
.@gunsnroses Don’t become captivated by captivity @TheMirageLV theres no beauty in stolen freedom #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/CYBGWwgIoS (Tweet This)
.@gunsnroses Take the pledge to boycott @TheMirageLV due to cetacean exploitation in the desert #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/ZAA2ezkVKv (Tweet This)
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.
.@TheEllenShow How did you go from promoting #TheCove to advertising dolphin cruelty at @TheMirageLV? #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/ieWn3jUZTm (Tweet This)
.@TheEllenShow Don’t become captivated by captivity @TheMirageLV theres no beauty in stolen freedom #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/CYBGWwgIoS (Tweet This)
.@TheEllenShow Imagine your kids being kept in a 117°F vegas summer with no shade protection. #MojaveDolphins pic.twitter.com/N5IJR8GvvU (Tweet This)
.@TheEllenShow 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://mojavedolphins.com.
Please consider joining their cause and becoming a voice for the 10 dolphins in Las Vegas. Thank you.
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.
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.