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 shockingly high 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.

    • Michael Lynn says:

      Dolphins should be in the oceans where they belong; the same for all the other ocean creatures mankind exploits for his own cause. Away with your pools, your food, your help, your treatments, and let them thrive in their right place. If they are any rescues, as may be the rare case for some, you do them wrong keeping them longer than is necessary to their health. Don’t pretend to be that animal love you claim to be whilst you hold up this world’s exploitation and cruelty of animals in the name of love and a better cause. Your children that take an interest are no exception. Leave them be.

    • “Captivity is suffering and it physical and mentally hurts me to see…but it is a reality…” No. Reality is what you chose to make it, not a pre-determined fate that we are powerless to change. And I seriously doubt it hurts you “physical” to see. The only ones suffering mentally and physically are these creatures forced to adapt to captivity…it doesn’t matter if they were captured or born in captivity – this kind of restrictive environment is NOT acceptable for any creature who was designed to live with boundless freedom. And as far as spending money in their hotel just so I can register a complaint as a “guest” versus a “fringe…tree-hugger” well…I guess I’m okay with voicing my opinion for free and avoiding patronizing their corporation. Because they ARE a business and their bottom line IS profit. The people at the top making these decisions aren’t the ones down there caring for the animals, so why harangue the trainers? The only language corporations speak is money. If they actually started losing money because patrons avoided their hotel and verbalized their reason for doing so, that would get their attention far more quickly than letters from “guests” to which they can respond with a generic “thanks for your money and your opinion, but this is a public outreach thing.”

    • Sorry, but nothing is an excuse for keeping wild animals in captivity! Nothing! It’s cruel punishment, and shameful!

    • I will sign the petition because SIMPLY – dolphins do not belong in small cement pools at a Las Vegas hotel.

      It doesn’t matter if they get fed, get air, get medications, or get drugged for depression. THEY DON’T BELONG THERE! Besides there’s nothing there to mentally stimulate them. Can you as a human imagine living in these small quarters cut off from the rest of YOUR world and YOUR OWN kind? In a white room with nothing? You’d go insane because of your intelligence and dolphins and many other animals have high intelligence – and much more so than many humans I know!

      I was at the Mirage YEARS ago, the time for this dolphin tank has long since passed. It is not pleasant to see dolphins living like this. Do they want their customers/guests offended by their stupidity? Their egos? That just because they can they do? Personally I find seeing this depressing and have since avoided the Mirage. Is this what the company wants? People are smarter now, not quite as easily entertained as we once were, and the Mirage apparently prefers to cater to the ignorant – which are becoming fewer and farther between as even we humans can become enlightened.

      FYI – a Las Vegas Hotel & Casino is not a Sea World. The Mirage needs to choose, either be a hotel & casino or be a Sea World. Trying to do both isn’t working for the dolphins.

    • Captivity may be a reality but it doesnt have to be the inevitable reality. Keeping large marine animals in small pools just doesnt make sense, just as keeping large cats or other animals that need ranging as an activity in tiny cages doesnt make sense. One doesnt need to live there in Las Vegas or visit the Mirage to know that is so.
      I believe you are very misguided. These petitions are not about blame, they are about changing conditions that are not healthy for marine animals. Do I personally feel that sacrificing orcas so that some family can let their kids see them is justified? No. I certainly do not. Just because people are lazy and want to run down to the local Sea World for an afternoon of ‘fun’ rather than actually visiting areas where orcas are found naturally-What? No, there is no justification. You call yourself a tree-hugger, yet your ability to empathize is very undeveloped. You might be surprised to learn that it is in fact Your attitude that is becoming recognized as more ridiculous and invalid, and the knowledge that wild animals should not be harbored in unnatural surroundings is becoming far more mainstream. Did you actually watch Blackfish or did you just use that for a quote? These animals suffer mightily for decades. Hmm, I bet you would too if you were ripped from family and put in isolation for the rest of your life. Hmm, I bet so.

    • The fact remains, that Dolphins belong with their own kind in the ocean! Not supposedly “educating” humans! That’s the responsibility of a human to educate a human! It always seems to boil down to “money”! Humans are greedy and and cruel! Let them go and find another way to entertain yourselves! I for one will Never Stop Signing “petitions” to stop Animal Abuse! “Karma” is going to turn about and kick U all in the Ass one of these days! So long as one of us care about the world and the animals!

    • Live in your bathtub for one year before we discuss the reality of captivity and the “need” to kidnap animals from their habitats for entertainment. People have no business treating other species like they are the lower forms of life. People are the lower forms, so arrogant to enslave then rationalize how it is “acceptable” to do so.

    • Cruel and inhumane to prevent any creature from living free in their natural environment. Please release. Human compassion for helpless animals is honorable.

    • “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.”
      Smoke and mirrors and utter hogwash!
      If you truly want to save the animals, you better make sure you learn to connect with them on THEIR terms and in THEIR rightful habitats, rather than selfishly and foolishly destroying them. You’d better learn & accept that the human species is not, never was, and never will be “superior” to all others, and therefore has no right to act as if it is. You’d better stop using false justifications for unethical, destructive and exclusionary thought and behaviour, and replace those with respect, reverence, compassion and empathy, employing the Golden Rule toward each and every individual, nonhuman life. You’d better learn neither you, nor anyone else, “owns” another’s life to manipulate or enslave, AS IF it’s a supposed, human-centric-ideated “God-given” right.
      THAT is how you save and work to truly benefit nonhuman beings’ lives, and therefore also this whole planet. And THAT is what you need to teach to children – not this other claptrap that you’re spewing!

    • Shad Gr , your story is full of lies ! Dolphins belong in the ocean with their own family, like you and me belong on the land. If you think this is educational, YOU should be in a cell on Alcatraz for exposure.

    • Amazing that someone can talk so much and say so little. You are an idiot. Please go put yourself in a small cage and live out your life there. When you are 85 years old, I will come and listen to you tell me how it has been for you.

    • “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.”

      Shad, if there was no captivity, we wouldn’t be having this conversation or concern with your above statement.

      Free Dolphins have no worries of depression/stress that is brought on by captivity. They don’t require “medication” and feed on a natural diet, not dead frozen fish.

      I appreciate you trying to look at both sides and wanting others to do the same. However, you really need to do a little more research on this subject as to the outcome of captivity.

      I suggest you check out not only the movie “the Cove” but also Sea Shepherd’s Cove Guardians’ live stream of the horrific atrocities that occur when slaughtering and capture of these magnificent creatures daily in Taiji. Also Ric O’Barry’s “The Dolphin Project.”

      I would love to hear your opinion then.

    • An apparently single voice of reason in a sea of misguided assumptions. Yes, WILD Dolphins belong in the wild. Were the Dolphins at this exhibit kidnapped from the ocean? If not, they were captively bred and raised which means they would likely die of starvation in the open ocean. I’ve been to this exhibit and equating the pools they have created to a human stuck in a bathtub is ridiculous. They have freedom to move and don’t appear to be suffering. And this contention that they are constantly exposed to “harsh climate” and “pollution” is also a baseless argument. In the wild, dolphins live in all kinds of extremely hot climates. Pollution? Do you have any idea at all how polluted the oceans are? Ever hear of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? The oceans are so full of Mercury and lead, it isn’t safe for pregnant women to eat Tuna!

      I am disgusted by humans who torture animals for fun and profit. I saw Blackfish and it broke my heart. The Cove tears me apart. But before you make online petitions, do some actual research and back your claims with facts instead of inflammatory labels like “Dolphin Death Pool.” How many animals have died here? What was the cause of death? Any evidence of abuse at the hands of persons involved? Include some verifiable facts with your case and then I will sign your petition.

      Just being angry that Dolphins are being kept here to make someone money is not justification to mislead people with propaganda and assumptions. You live in a capitalist society, and there is a price for this. When these Dolphins are poisoned and dissected like lab rats for human purposes and profits, I will sign your petition.

      • They don’t have to be getting cut up to be living in an inhumane situation. Captivity is inhumane. Not having CHOICE is inhumane. They have to do exactly what is expected of them every single day, they have to eat exactly what’s given to them. They have to be around people and other creatures that have been PUT around them – if they don’t like one of these other beings they have no ability to leave. They have no choice to go find their own mates, again only getting what has been forced on them.

        And there cannot possibly be any doubt in your mind that these dolphins are here for any other reason than profit? The “it’s educational” argument is actually laughable, as there are real life sanctuaries in existence that rehabilitate dolphins and you can view the process without them ever being degraded or abused just to keep you entertained.

        And as for whether these dolphins were wild-born or not. Do you actually think that if they were captivity born and raised then this is the best place for them? Obviously they would not just be shucked into the ocean with a hope that they could survive. They would be moved to a sanctuary where they were no longer expected to perform and would be offered an actual life closer to “free” than anything a hotel pool could offer them. And the best part is the ending of the cycle – no dolphin after that – captivity born or wild born – would be forced into this situation again.

  2. Dolphins are a basic feature of the evolution chain. Their spinal cords are similar to human being’s. They are also highly intelligent. That’s probably where the problem starts…

  3. caryl sawyer says:

    Boycott. I don’t need to stay there and meet the lovely people who are doing this.

  4. Irena Franchi says:

    Close the Dolphin Death Pool at the Mirage in Las Vegas.

  5. Where are the dolphins being imported from, in the first place? Cannot be a very compassionate country… Dolphins belong in the ocean, didn’t you know? And that’s where they should stay, living healthy lives and free!

  6. “So many people insist they are against animal abuse, cruelty, suffering and the inhumane treatment of animals, yet they don’t understand they are actively engaging in and supporting egregious suffering, abuse, cruelty and inhumane treatment when they eat animals and their ‘by-products.’ If you are against cruelty, suffering and inhumane treatment, then you go vegan. It’s just that simple.” – Sarah Kiser

  7. Karen Remnant says:

    Comes down to the love of money, as usual!

  8. Vicki LLoyd-Smith says:

    If you have ever been dolphin or whale watching, or canoed out in sea and had dolphins swim right up to you, then you can definitely appreciate how wonderful it is to observe these magnificent creatures in their own environment! Truly amazing and can even bring a tear to your eye, as it did mine! Please close down this Dolphin Death Pool, release the dolphins into a sanctuary or back into the oceans where they belong!!! LETS MAKE IT HAPPEN EVERYONE!! IF WE ALL PROTEST, WRITE LETTERS AND KEEP POSTING, THIS HORRIBLE PLACE MAY GET OUR MESSAGE!

  9. Astrid Gerjets says:


  10. il faut fermer cette piscine et la

  11. Dolphins don’t belong in the desert. Send them back to the sea – where they belong. Get your priorities right – you go to Las Vegas to gamble, drink and party, not to study oceanography.

  12. There can be no peace for dolphins or numerous other
    creatures as long as Man runs the world. We’re unfit
    to inhabit it – let alone be in charge of it!
    Something is very, very out-of-whack in the human
    psyche. We alone delight in finding pleasure in
    blatant cruelty. What needs to be taught in schools
    is compassion and respect for ALL forms of life –
    starting with the destruction of the ghastly meat
    industry. That’s close enough to home to have REAL

    • Hear-hear, Rosemary! Exactly so. Get to the real CORE of all these related problems, then undo & rejig the flawed thought patterns that frame it.

  13. I love Dolphins,they belong in the Ocean, where they can swim as far as they want to, they are the Blue Angels of the Sea, leave them Be!!~Find some other way to make money, Greed always hurts something or somebody!!

  14. nikki halper says:

    Vegas is mainly for adults for gambling and fun in the sun. If you or your kids want to see a dolphin go out on a boat and see them where they are supposed to be, in the sea and FREE. What are you thinking mirage?

  15. Martin Sherman says:

    “The Day of the Dolphin”.Google it. Thanks

  16. Emily Keeling says:

    “Hey, let’s try to keep some dolphins in particularly inhumane desert conditions!” said no wise, intelligent, or compassionate person. This operation needs to be shut down.

  17. These beautiful dolphins belong in the ocean, and not in some hotel as an attraction for human entertainment !!!

  18. Renate Ingelsheim says:

    This dolphin prison must be closed, David Blasko, and the dolhins must go to the open sea ! And you Yvette Monet, you only think of money, you stupid humans. Vegas is for gambling, NOT for wild animals; CLOSE the deathpool !

  19. Dolphins belong in the ocean!!! Stop exploiting innocent animals!

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