Las Vegas Sun

November 26, 2022

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Las Vegas Strip dolphin attraction shut down as 3rd animal has died


Christopher DeVargas

Want to meet a dolphin face to face? You can at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage in Las Vegas

The Mirage has temporarily closed its Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat after the attraction experienced its third death of a mammal in a five-month period.

An 11-year-old bottlenose dolphin named K2 died Saturday following treatment for a respiratory illness, according to a message to Mirage employees. Maverick, a 19-year-old bottlenose dolphin, died of a lung infection on Sept. 1, and another Mirage dolphin, Bella, died earlier this year from a gastrointestinal illness.

The shutdown began Sunday and will extend through Oct. 9, according to the resort website.

“All of us are heartbroken over this tragic loss, especially our amazing animal health and care teams who love and care for our animals on a daily basis,” Franz Kallao, the Las Vegas Strip resort’s interim president, wrote in the message to employees.

The Mirage is working with various experts to determine a cause of death for K2, Kallao wrote, and to conduct a thorough review and inspection of the facility and its animals.

The Mirage will use the closure to focus on ensuring “the safest possible environment and the best care possible” for its dolphins, Kallao wrote.

Bottlenose dolphins under human care can typically live up to about 29 years, according to the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums.

“I cannot stress enough that nothing is more important to us than the health, safety and welfare of the animals entrusted in our care,” Kallao wrote.