Mirage dolphins relocated to SeaWorld

Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 4:29 PM PST|Updated: Feb. 14, 2023 at 4:50 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Three dolphins recently homed on the Las Vegas Strip have moved to San Diego.

Three dolphins at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage -- Karli, Sofi and Osborne -- have officially moved to SeaWorld in San Diego, according to Mirage President Joe Lupo. SeaWorld had originally loaned the dolphins to the habitat.

The care of the dolphins at The Mirage has always been the highest priority for both Hard Rock and MGM. We are returning the dolphins to SeaWorld in San Diego in accordance with Mirage’s contractual commitment to do so when SeaWorld originally loaned these dolphins to The Mirage Dolphin Habitat. We are grateful for their partnership and know they will be in great hands back with SeaWorld which is an accredited zoo providing world-class care that is audited, regulated and certified by independent animal welfare experts. We would like to thank The Mirage and SeaWorld team members for their efforts in this relocation, as well as MGM for its continued involvement in this process.

Joe Lupo, President, The Mirage

The closing of Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage came shortly after The Hard Rock took over the property. Three more dolphins still remain on property.

“Although we would much prefer SeaWorld change their entire business model, and maybe open a sanctuary, the best thing for these animals is to get out of Vegas and be somewhere that’s safe,” Executive Director of CompassionWorks International Carrie LeBlanc said.

LeBlanc and other animal advocates believe veterinary care should be better at SeaWorld. She said it should allow more space and gets the animals out of the desert climate and lights of the Las Vegas Strip.

Multiple dolphins that had been at the facility for years had died recently, with an original dolphin Duchess dying in January.

“We need to come up with some sort of solution where we have offshore sanctuaries for animals,” Leblanc said. “Where they can be in these confined pens, learn how to interact with nature and assess whether they’re suitable candidates for release. It’s something groups are working on.”

LeBlanc said moving the more than a dozen big cats from the Secret Garden at the Mirage to a sanctuary should be an easier task.

The Mirage told FOX5 the lions, tigers and leopards are still in the care of staff at the resort.

LeBlanc said she knows of two accredited sanctuaries in the southwest United States that would take the big cats.

“Let’s move them to the type of sanctuary environment where they will thrive and the Hard Rock will be proud of. We invite that conversation,” LeBlanc said.

Animal advocates have protested the housing of the dolphins on The Strip for years. Once the final three are sent away, there will be no more in the state of Nevada.

“I feel pretty confident in telling you there will never be dolphins in Nevada again,” LeBlanc said.

The three remaining dolphins were born in Las Vegas. LeBlanc said the options are likely one of the SeaWorld properties or a zoo that can take them.