Close the Dolphin Death Pool at the Mirage in Las Vegas

Target: David Blasko, Director of Animal Care, The Mirage and the NV Government.
Goal: To close the dolphin habitat at the Mirage, Las Vegas before another innocent dolphin is killed.

The dolphin habitat at the Mirage in Las Vegas has been rightly named the dolphin death pool due to a 75% fatality rate. These dolphins live in inhumane conditions: the concrete pools are too small, they breathe in fumes, and they are given no protection from the harsh desert climate. Often these conditions cause respiratory infections and diseases that claim their lives prematurely. When a dolphin dies it is quickly replaced, putting yet another innocent life at stake and creating a viscous cycle that will not end until the pool is closed.

The Mirage claims that the dolphin pool is educational and used as a research tool, but the cost of being a trainer for a day is $495- $795, this proves that the dolphins are solely being used for profit. No enclosure can compare to the vast freedom of the open sea and keeping them in these small pools is completely heartless. Dolphins are highly intelligent creatures, scientists have determined that their cognitive abilities rank closest to ours. They are self- aware, think about the future and create emotional bonds with each other. Their sentient nature has brought up an important ethical issue that they should be treated humanely. Tragically this is far from the case at the Mirage and for that matter any environment they are held in captivity as mere spectacles for profit.

What many don’t realize is that dolphins are often captured from the wild to be put on display as mere commodities. Often this fuels the dolphin slaughter industry like in Tajii, Japan which was exposed by the award winning documentary “The Cove.” Please think about these facts the next time you think of watching a dolphin show or swimming in a dolphin pool.  A small pool in Vegas is a horrific place for a dolphin to live surrounded by noise, lights, air pollution and a harsh climate they are offered no protection from. The ever present grin on a dolphins face is often mistaken for their joyfulness, but the only place these highly intelligent animals are truly happy is the boundless sea.


Dear David Blasko, director of animal care and the NV Government,

It is no wonder that the dolphin pool at the Mirage in Las Vegas has earned the name dolphin death pool. These highly intelligent creatures are forced to live in small enclosures. They are exposed to fumes from the nearby roads and are offered no protection from the desert climate. These conditions have cause respiratory problems and disease resulting in a 75% fatality rate. This statistic alone shows that this is an inhumane environment and as the dolphins are replaced, often by being captured from the wild, a viscous cycle takes place that will not end until the pool is closed.

These animals have a cognitive aptitude that is second to ours, this poses an important ethical issue that they should be treated as our equals or at least respected as sentient beings. The mirage claims that they are used for research and education, but with the high prices for interacting with them it is obvious that they are simply being used for profit.  Please help save the lives of these incredible animals. A small enclosure in the middle of a city is no place for an animal that is used to living in the vast, open sea.


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  1. Shad Groverland says:

    Choosing sides and creating polarity makes the cause for animals look like a fringe “tree hugger” initiative that the main stream can poke fun of and wave off as invalid or ridiculous. I am a massive “tree hugging” animal activist but you do the cause no justice by having your “all or nothing” attitude towards the situation. BTW, I will let you know I live in Vegas and work for the corporation before I go any further so you can quickly rush to your next judgment and tune me out as an insider with an agenda, though I do not work at the Mirage or with the animals in any way.
    Making outlandish claims makes you sound ignorant on the issue. The dolphins obviously get fed, get medication and air. Are they drugged for depression… possibly but do any of you know for sure or are you just quoting Blackfish. Are the spots from an ailment like a disease or side effect of the sun? Are the dolphins taken from the ocean or are they born and raised in captivity or rescued? Answers to these questions matter and making gross assumptions without research and hopping online to rant about it cheapens and reduces the legitimacy of our cause.
    These are legitimate concerns that need to be answered and addressed but I will not sign a petition that does not reveal where it got its facts from… otherwise I am pooling myself with those that make our cause look uneducated and fringe. If you want to make an impact and actually do some good for these dolphins, consider writing petitions or letters to the people in this corporation from your heart, not your anger. They are human beings just like you or I who respond to kindness and educated logical reason over hate mail and accusations. Thank them for the efforts they have made thus far to educated the public about this incredible animal and that they have offering pretty good care to this point. Then make some real and practical suggestions on how they could improve the tank, space or handling practices for the benefit of the dolphins. The staff and trainers are not money hungry idiots out to turn a quick buck and kill dolphins. That would actually cost them money if you do the math.
    You also forget one key element which makes this issue not so black and white. Places like this and Sea World are the only places, by and large, that young adults and kids can come to connect with an animal like this in person… face to face. That connection is quite often the moment which inspires many of them to grow to want to help them, save them and work with or for them in the future. That personal connection is crucial in this day and age of computers and disconnection. If you want to save the animals you better make sure there are places kids can come and connect with them or we are most certainly doomed as these generations grow up without having ever connected with beauty animals.
    I agree. Captivity is suffering and it physical and mentally hurts me to see… but it is a reality and taking extreme sides one way or the other doesn’t serve the dolphins, it only serves the conflict. Think of practical, applicable solutions that can help, because blaming gets us no where. Only solutions based on understanding and compromise will get things done.
    You all say boycott the Mirage… guess what. If you actually came and stayed at the hotel and went to the dolphin habitat and spoke to people in person (once again REAL CONNECTION) you would have far more of an impact than firing off complaints from your living in room across the country. You would be a paying guest making a complaint or suggestion, not just the unknown fringe element. This is not my agenda to make the company money… it is actual fact from someone on the scene who works with these people and I does this himself.
    BTW Look up the second largest rooftop solar panel installation going in on the Mandalay Bay here in Vegas right now. That is the MGM Resorts Corporation that also runs the Mirage.

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