Multiple Dolphins Died This Year at the Mirage

An investigation is underway

The Mirage
The Mirage Hotel & Casino on December 14, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Last year, Las Vegas resort The Mirage was in the news when it was sold to Hard Rock International. This year, it’s in the news for a very different reason — and an unsettling one to boot. As National Geographic reports, three of the resort’s dolphins have died since the beginning of the year. K2 was the latest to die, at the age of 11. He was predeceased by Maverick (19) and Bella (11).

As National Geographic’s article makes clear, all three dolphins had very different causes of death. But all three deaths appear to have been premature — statistics cited in a recent Smithsonian Magazine article note that 40 years is a more typical lifespan for the species, while the National Geographic article points to a slightly shorter lifespan.

Still, something seems awry. National Geographic quoted marine mammal scientist Naomi Rose, who referred to the situation as “an exceptional number of deaths in such a short period.”

The Mirage temporarily closed the exhibit, which had previously allows guests to reserve a time to swim with the dolphins living there. The resort is now working with the National Marine Mammal Foundation to review the dolphins’ habitat, care program and veterinary capabilities.

The resort is still home to a number of dolphins. Hopefully this investigation will help keep all of them healthy and safe in the years to come.

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