Young dolphin dies at Vegas Strip's Mirage hotel, the third this year

K2, an 11-year-old dolphin, died this weekend at the dolphin "habitat" at The Mirage hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. It's the third dolphin death there this year, reports KYMA.

an 19-year-old dolphin named Maverick died earlier this month and a 13-year-old dolphin named Bella died in April. "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," Mirage's Interim President Franz Kallao said in a memo to staff. In the memo, Kallao said that K2 had been born and the facility and staff "watched him grow and learn, from an infant to an adolescent and finally to an adult."

Bottlenose dolphins have a life expectancy of 30-60 years in the wild. Not at a Vegas Strip hotel, though.

Most tourists aren't even aware that there are currently ten dolphins swimming in circles, waiting listlessly at closed gates, beaching themselves, bored and stressed beyond comprehension right here, in the middle of the Mojave Desert.  … Many of the ten existing dolphins show obvious signs of stress.  Poxvirus, a disease which would normally go into remission, runs rampant among the dolphins likely due to their soaring anxiety.   From lying listless at the gates, beaching themselves, chasing one another aggressively and being confined to barely legal enclosures, the signs are too obvious to ignore.  On the overhead speakers, patrons are repeatedly advised to view the pool where dolphins are being actively trained to not call attention to the obvious signs of compulsive and methodical behavior these dolphins show on a regular basis.  There is no way to adequately duplicate any form of natural environment for dolphins in captivity, but the Mirage stands out for its poor facilities.

A claimed list of the dead since the attraction opened:

* Rascal – age 4 – Death unknown
* Darla – age 18 – Died from chronic pancreatitis
* Squirt – age 15 – Died from respiratory ailment
* Picabo – age 18 – Died suddenly from internal tear in its stomach
* Bugsy – age 3 – Died from pulmonary abscess
* No name – Stillborn
* No name – 2 week old calf – died from pulmonary edema
* Sigma – age 32 – Died from heart failure
* Banjo – age 32 – Died from heart failure
* Merlin – age 40 (estimate) – died from pneumonia
* Sage – age 11 – death unknown
* St. Pepper – age 2 – lung infection

Check out the kind of handjob this place gets from the local press: "Mirage Dolphin Habitat serves as attraction, research facility"

Maybe there was a bit of anthropomorphizing going on but that dolphin had a look in her eye, like she could tell you a thing or two if you only spoke her language. Not right now, though. Now, she had to teach her baby how to swim laps around the pool as fast as possible.