Las Vegas’ Mirage casino temporarily shut down its dolphin habitat Tuesday after an 11-year-old dolphin died — the third animal to die in the enclosure this year.
K2, a bottlenose dolphin, had allegedly suffered from respiratory illness and was undergoing treatment when he died Saturday, according to a memo that was sent out to the employees by Mirage Interim President Franz Kallao, reported PEOPLE.
“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,” wrote Kallao.
“K2 was very vocal, energetic, loved his toys and was a joy to be around. He always made us smile.”
Many of the Mirage’s staff had been working with K2 since his birth and “watched him grow” into an adult, Kallao said.
An exact cause of death has yet to be determined however, the casino is working with several pathologists and veterinarians to ensure the well-being of the remaining animals.
“I cannot stress enough that nothing is more important to us than the health, safety and welfare of the animals entrusted in our care,” Kallao explained. “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.”
“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,” concluded Kallao.
The Post reached out to officials at the Mirage resort for comment.
K2 is allegedly the third dolphin at the resort to die since April 2022.
In April, a 19-year-old dolphin named Maverick died due to a lung infection, according to a local Fox outlet and earlier this month, a 13-year-old dolphin named Bella also passed away due to gastroenteritis.
As of Wednesday, the habitat is scheduled to be closed through October 9, 2022.