Simple and economic method to minimize the mortality of aquatic birds in copper leaching pools, in northern Chile

  • César Lautaro Chávez-Villavicencio Universidad Católica del Norte - Universidad La Serena. Programa de Doctorado en Biología y Ecología Aplicada. Campus Guayacán. Larrondo N°281, Coquimbo, Región de Coquimbo, Chile. Benavente N° 80, La Serena, Región de Coquimbo, Chile
  • Elier Tabilo-Valdivieso GesNat Consultores Ambientales Spa. Carmen Quiroga N°481. Paradero 10 Balmaceda. La Serena, Región de Coquimbo, Chile
  • Marcelo Zepeda-Cortés Superintendencia de Medio Ambiente. Teck Carmen de Andacollo. Camino a Chepiquilla s/n, Andacollo, Región de Coquimbo, Chile
Keywords: Applied Ecology, Ecological Trap, Environmental Management, Mining and Conservation, Waterfowl Mortality


Extractive mining is vital for technological development in the world where Chile ranks first as a world copper exporter. However, this activity generates tailings deposits and emergency pools with extremely toxic and acid waters, which are used by many species of birds, generally causing the death of numerous individuals. Teck CDA designed a system of suspended colored plastic flag lines located over the emergency poolsand its effectiveness was evaluated as a strategy to avoid the use of pools by waterfowl and reduce mortality. Between 2011 and 2017 a monitoring program was implemented for the birds that use the emergency pools, clear pools and the adjacent tailing dam. Our results indicated that during the period using colored flag lines, the death of any individual of some species of bird that could potentially interact with the pools was not observed. It is concluded that the system of colored plastic flags lines over the copper leaching emergency pools, were effective in avoiding the use of toxic pools and minimizing the deaths of waterfowl.

How to Cite
Chávez-Villavicencio, C.; Tabilo-Valdivieso, E.; Zepeda-Cortés, M. Simple and Economic Method to Minimize the Mortality of Aquatic Birds in Copper Leaching Pools, in Northern Chile. BNH 2018, 4, 11-15.
Short Communications