Getty Stock photo of a dolphin not the end K2
An 11-year-old dolphin has died at Mirage’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat in Las Vegas, causing the exhibit to be temporarily closed.
A memo sent to employees by Mirage’s interim president, Franz Kallao, and shared with PEOPLE on Monday, says K2, a bottlenose dolphin, was suffering from a respiratory condition for which he was undergoing treatment. He died on Saturday.
“We are all heartbroken by this tragic loss, especially our incredible animal health and care teams who love and care for our animals on a daily basis,” Kallao wrote, noting that many of the staff had seen the birth of K2 and “had seen him grow up”. “as an adult.
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Kallao said, “K2 was very vocal, energetic, loved his toys and was a joy to be around. He always made us smile.”
His cause of death has not been determined, however, the exhibit is working with veterinarians and pathologists. They will also look at the welfare of the animals that are still at the exhibit as well as the venue itself, Kallao said.
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“I cannot stress enough that nothing is more important to us than the health, safety and welfare of the animals in our care,” added Kallao. “We are temporarily closing the Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat to focus our efforts on ensuring we have the safest possible environment and the best possible care for our dolphins and to give our team the time they need. to treat and mourn.”
He concluded, “No words can adequately describe the pain we are all feeling. Please join me in extending our deepest condolences to our Mirage teammates for this tragic loss.”
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According to the exhibit’s website, it’s closed until October 9.
K2 is the third dolphin to die in habitat this year.
The first was 19-year-old Maverick, who died earlier this month, and 13-year-old Bella, who died in April, according to multiple media outlets.
Both dolphins were treated for illnesses in the weeks before their deaths, according to FOX 5 Las Vegas.