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Dolphin mortality high at Las Vegas exhibit

Feb 21, 2007

Eleven of sixteen dolphins housed in The Mirage's Dolphin Habitat have died since the facility opened in 1990, according to federal records and interviews with resort officials.

The records obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal show most of the dolphin deaths were attributed to natural causes, and that casino officials have taken steps to change the way the dolphins are cared for and the habitat is maintained.

"It's not simply a case of bad luck that that number has died,'' said Dena Jones, program manager for the World Society for the Protection of Animals' U.S. office. "Captive dolphins die regularly at relatively young ages ... The people (at The Mirage) may be well-meaning and the facility may be well-run, but these type of captive environments can't reproduce conditions in the wild.''

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A pod of dolphins in the wild