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February 14, 2023 – When Hard Rock International completed its purchase of MGM’s Mirage in December 2022, it was known that the days of Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat were numbered.
On Tuesday, the 14th of February, it was announced that at least three of the six dolphins would be returned to their owners at Seaworld San Diego. These three dolphins have been returned already, with the other three expected to be rehomed shortly.
The Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage has been closed since September 2022 due to an increase in the number of deaths of the dolphins living at the resort. In under a year, four dolphins at the Mirage have died, with the most recent being three weeks ago.
The permanent closure was announced in November 2022, shortly before Hard Rock took over the property.
Fate of The Dolphins at The Mirage
Up until recently, it was unknown what would happen to the dolphins. PETA activists were demanding that the Mirage’s dolphins be placed in a far more suitable habitat, even if they could not be released into the wild. They believed that being in the middle of the scorching Nevada desert was not a great place for the animals.
While it is unlikely that the dolphins being returned to SeaWorld San Diego comes as a great relief to PETA, many other activists have expressed their happiness that the dolphins will at least be sent to a proper zoo.
Joe Lupo, President of the Mirage, released a statement that claimed that the Mirage had a legal obligation to return the dolphins to SeaWorld San Diego. The dolphins were only ever on loan to Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat. The contract stipulated that should the exhibit close, custody of the dolphins would revert to SeaWorld San Diego.
By the time the statement was released, three dolphins had already been transported back to San Diego. It is unknown whether the remaining three will be taken to SeaWorld San Diego or whether there is another plan for them.
The returned dolphins will eventually be integrated with the other dolphins homed at the zoo.
Tigers and Other Animals
Eventually, all of the animals located at Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat will be rehomed, including the famous white tigers, with the majority already having left the resort, although it’s currently reported that some of the big cats are still living on the property.
While it is unknown the exact locations they will end up in, both MGM and Hard Rock International have committed to ensuring that each location is properly vetted. Most of the animals will likely be placed in zoos in the United States, with some heading overseas.
Mirage Moving Forward
Once the animals have been successfully rehomed, Hard Rock International can continue with their planned redevelopment of the hotel, with most of the features the Mirage was known for being removed from the site.
This includes the iconic volcano. Full redevelopment of the site is likely to last several years, with the hotel eventually being renamed ‘Hard Rock Las Vegas.’ For now, Hard Rock International will license the name ‘The Mirage’ from MGM until at least 2025.
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