It feels like we write this headline a lot. Yet another dolphin at The Mirage Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat has died. This time, it’s an original dolphin that goes back to the park’s founding.

Duchess was one of five dolphins that was there when Siegfried & Roy opened the park in 1990. She passed away at 48 years old, which is a heck of a run for a dolphin. According to Sciencing.com, while bottlenose dolphins can live up to 40+ years, the average age is around 16 years old. Dolphins who live in captivity tend to live far shorter lives than their wild counterparts according to several sources.

That makes Duchess’ run all the more impressive. 48 years pushes the higher end of wild dolphins and is a heck of a run.

Mirage President Joe Lupo put out a statement saying:

“I extend my heartfelt appreciation to the Mirage animal care team and the veterinary experts who worked tirelessly to ensure Duchess was loved, received the highest quality care, and was as comfortable as possible. Duchess brought an unmeasurable amount of joy and happiness to the countless visitors and The Mirage family while at the Dolphin Habitat.”

It hasn’t been a good year for The Mirage Dolphin Habitat

The news of Duchess’ passing comes at a watershed moment for the attraction. Hard Rock International, new owners of the soon to be rebranded Mirage, have already stated they plan to close the attraction.

Not to mention losing three dolphins prior to Duchess in the last year, all at far younger ages.

  • Bella was a 13 year old bottlenose dolphin and the granddaughter of Duchess. She died after a medical treatment in April.
  • Maverick died in September at 19 years old after medical treatment for a lung infection.
  • K2 died, also in September, at just 11 years old while getting medical treatment for an illness.

The staff at Secret Garden & Dolphin Habitat certainly care for their animals but, after the rise of certain documentaries shedding light on aquatic animals in captivity and a change to public opinion around the practice, it might be time to bid the attraction farewell.