Mirage Dolphins Relocated to Sea World

Three of the six remaining dolphins at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage have been relocated to Sea World San Diego, according to a staff memo from Mirage president Joe Lupo.

More accurately, Karli, Sofi, and Osborne were returned  to Sea World. The San Diego aquatic theme park loaned the dolphins to the Mirage several years ago, according to Lupo’s memo.

SeaWorld dolphins
Bottlenose dolphins perform ticks at Sea World San Diego, new home of three of the former Mirage dolphins. (Image: SeaWorld)

When the Seminole Tribe of Florida purchased the Mirage from MGM Resorts International last December, a total of seven dolphins remained in the habitat. They included Duchess, the last of the five original dolphins that opened the habitat in 1990. In January, Duchess became the fourth Mirage dolphin to die in a year. She was 48.

In September, an 11-year-old Mirage bottlenose named K2 died of a suspected respiratory illness. The same suspected cause of death was given earlier that same month for a 19-year-old bottlenose named Maverick. In April 2022, a 13-year-old bottleneck named Bella succumbed to gastroenteritis.

In November, the Mirage announced that Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat was permanently closing. The property announced that the attraction’s dolphins, white tigers, white lions, and leopards were to be cared for by “well-trained, highly respected animal care professionals and veterinary experts.”

Since the popular Mirage attraction opened in 1990, 14 dolphins have died from various causes and at different ages. Animal rights activists claim the number of dolphins that died at the Mirage was actually higher.

Animal Rights Activists Applauded Closure

News about the attraction’s closure was applauded by the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

“Big cats belong in the jungle, not behind bars in a casino sideshow, and a desert is no place for a dolphin,” Brittany Peet, general counsel for captive animal law enforcement for the PETA Foundation, said in a statement.

PETA encouraged Hard Rock to usher in its new animal-free era by finding reputable new homes for the big cats and working to get the dolphins to a seaside sanctuary where they could have more natural lives in spacious habitats, far from the lights and noise of the Strip,” last year’s statement said.

According to Lupo’s memo, homes were still being sought for the three remaining Mirage dolphins. The Mirage’s tigers and lions, which have been part of the resort for some 30 years, remain at the property. Lupo reported that those animals “are being relocated” elsewhere, though he did not indicate whether homes had been found yet.

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