Effects of Mine Development on Woodland Caribou Rangifer Tarandus Distribution

  • Weir J
  • Mahoney S
  • Mclaren B
 et al. 
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Abstract

BioOne (www.bioone.org) is a nonprofit, online aggregation of core research in the biological, ecological, and environmental sciences. BioOne provides a sustainable online platform for over 170 journals and books published by nonprofit societies, associations, museums, institutions, and presses. Your use of this PDF, the BioOne Web site, and all posted and associated content indicates your acceptance of BioOne's Terms of Use, available at www.bioone.org/page/terms_of_use. Knowledge of the effect of mining developments on caribou Rangifer tarandus is fragmentary. We examined the impact of the Hope Brook gold mine, southwestern Newfoundland, on the La Poile woodland caribou herd onasectionoftheiryear-roundrange.Weexaminedtheimpactofthemineon caribou distribution during three phases of mine activity (pre-disturbance, construction and open-pitmining and underground mineandmilloperation) in five seasons (winter, late winter, pre-calving, calving and autumn). Aerial surveys were conducted on a monthly basis from September 1985 to July 1991. Following initiation of the mine construction, caribou abundance increased with distance from the mine site in all seasons, and caribou avoided areas within 4 km of the site in most seasons. Within 6 km of the mine centre, group size and the number of caribou decreased as mine activity progressed in late winter, pre-calving and calving seasons. Although the impact of the mine was most prominent in the pre-calving and calving seasons, caribou responded to mine disturbance in all seasons. This highlights the importance of evaluating the year-round impact of human-induced environmental change.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Avoidance
  • Rangifer
  • distribution
  • disturbance
  • mining
  • woodland caribou

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Authors

  • Jackie N Weir

  • Shane P Mahoney

  • Brian Mclaren

  • Steven H Ferguson

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