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British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Wild ruminant study at Brenda Mines Taylor, M. E.; McKee, P. M.

Abstract

A wild ruminant study was undertaken at the Brenda Mines site in 1999 to determine the numbers of mule deer and whether they showed symptoms of molybdenosis. About 32 mule deer were estimated to utilise the site during the summer. This number included both breeding and non-breeding adults and fawns. Because animals tend to return to familiar summer home ranges, we assume that does using the site successfully reproduce. A variety of age classes were noted including large bucks, indicating animals reach maturity. Deer were observed feeding on vegetation on the tailings beach area and waste rock piles, as well as surrounding areas. Animals were not limited to these areas and spent time in the surrounding forest. Molybdenum concentrations in forage from revegetated areas, while elevated, remain below levels reported to lead to symptoms of molybdenum toxicity in mule deer. None of the animals exhibited any outward signs of molybdenum toxicity such as weight loss, discolouration of hair or impaired locomotion. No dying or dead animals were encountered. Faecal pellets encountered on the site for the most part were normal in consistency, with little evidence of diarrhoea, one possible symptom of excessive molybdenum intake. These observations combined with the wide-ranging foraging behaviour of deer, indicate that molybdenosis is unlikely to be found in wild ruminants utilizing the mine site.

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