Las Vegas Dolphin Habitat ‘Temporarily Closing’ After Third Death In SIX MONTHS

The Mirage’s dolphin exhibit is shutting down following multiple deaths year…

You may have heard about the famous Las Vegas hotel’s unfortunate dolphin deaths throughout the last six months, one back in April, then another in September. Two was shocking — but a third on Saturday is now prompting officials to take more drastic measures to figure out what’s going on. In a memo issued to employees of the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat — and shared with People on Tuesday — Interim President Franz Kallao explained: 

“I cannot stress enough that nothing is more important to us than the health, safety and welfare of the animals entrusted in our care. We are temporarily closing the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat to focus our efforts on ensuring that we have the safest possible environment and the best care possible for our dolphins and to give our team the time they need to process and grieve.”

Kallao revealed 11-year-old bottlenose dolphin K2, who had been battling and receiving treatment for a respiratory ailment, tragically lost his life Saturday. He explained:

“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.”

Several staff members had “watched him grow” from the time K2 was born up until his untimely passing, Kallao later noted. He added: 

“K2 was very vocal, energetic, loved his toys and was a joy to be around. He always made us smile.”

What a loss! Especially considering bottlenose dolphins have been documented living 60+ years in the wild! The average captive lifespan? Just under 13 years, according to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation. See a problem?

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While an exact cause of death has not yet been determined, Kallao made it clear officials are investigating the tragedy alongside veterinarians and pathologists, in addition to taking a closer look at the health of the animals who still reside in the habitat, as well as the exhibit itself.

Kallao concluded his announcement:

“There are no words that can adequately describe the pain that all of us feel. Please join me in wishing our sincerest condolences to our Mirage teammates over this tragic loss.”

K2’s death follows that of 19-year-old Maverick earlier this very same month, and 13-year-old Bella who passed back in April. FOX 5 Las Vegas noted at the times of these prior deaths they were both being treated for illnesses in the weeks leading up to their passings.

What a sad situation. Do you think dolphins should be held in captivity at all? Share your thoughts and condolences in the comments down below. Rest in peace, K2.

[Images via Details in Luxury/YouTube]

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