Mammals or reptiles, as surveyed by pit-traps, as bio-indicators of rehabilitation success for mine sites in the goldfields region of Western Australia?
Surrey Beatty & Sons
Faculty of Business and Public Management
School of Marketing, Tourism and Leisure
We compare the relative merits of using mammals and reptiles as bla-indicators of rehabilitation success for mine sites in the semi-arld goldfields region of Western Australia (WA). Based on 54 600 pit-trap days of data we found that both mammals and reptiles colonized rehabilitated areas that were between three and nine years old. The complete suite of mammals generally return in the early stages of the rehabilitation programme, whereas the movement of reptiles into a rehabilitated area is spread over a much longer period. More reptile species seem to have specific requirements that are provided in the latter stages of the rehabilitation process. Using criteria of relative abundance, species richness, habitat preference, activity area and period, diet and foraging strategies, reptiles were assessed as a better bio-indicator than mammals. On other criteria such as population fluctuations, colonizing capacity and sensitivity to environmental changes, differences between reptiles and mammals were not as clear but most favoured reptiles as the preferred bio-indicator. Overall, we judged reptiles to have more merit as bio-indicators of rehabilitation success than mammals in the Ora Banda area.