Mooney/ Mooney Goes Wild

    Monday-Friday, 3 - 4.30pm

    Mooney, Friday September 19th 2014


    On Mooney today...

    We find out about the feeding behaviour of vultures and how they rely on birds of prey for their "ready-made meals", and we hear how China's economic boom has had disastrous consequences for one of the world's oldest living species, the sturgeon...


    Ken Whelan's Trip To The Kola Peninsula

    Ken Whelan is Mooney Goes Wild's resident marine biologist, and he has just returned from a trip to the Kola Peninsula in Northern Russia. There, he was some very healthy looking Russian Atlantic salmon. He joins Derek and the panel in studio to chat about his trip, the salmon, and why he is particularly excited about a new regulation that has come in on the shark trade...

    Upper Rynda River, Kola Peninsular, Russia

    The porbeagle shark, along with four other sharks (three types of hammerheads and Oceanic white tip sharks), and manta rays, now have the protection Appendix II of the Cites code, which means that traders must have permits and certificates. 


    For more information of the Fly Fair that Ken will be speaking at in November visit:


    South African Sustainable Fish Text Service

    Of all the novel ways to protect endangered fish, we came across one in Cape Town that we thought was quite ingenious. And anybody who has a mobile phone in their pocket can use it! Imagine sitting down in the restaurant - you want to order fish but you are not sure if you should be eating this fish or not. Is it a sustainable fish?

    The FishMS texting service allows you to simply type the name of the seafood species into a text message and send it to a number. Shortly after, you will receive a colour-coded response. Green means go ahead and eat, as population numbers are healthy. Orange means it's a species that is legal to sell, but supplies are in danger. Species marked red are illegal to buy or sell in South Africa.

    When Derek was in Cape Town recently, he found out a little more about it from Chris Kastern, who works for the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa in their Sustainable Fisheries programme.

    For more information about the SASSI scheme (Southern Africa Sustainable Seafood Initiative), visit, or click here to view a pdf pocket guide to sustainable fish.


    Endangered Sturgeon

    Sturgeon have been around for 200 million years and have outlasted even dinosaurs. They’re probably the most valuable of all fish, as they are harvested for caviar.

    But many species of sturgeon around the world are vulnerable to extinction. The fish is classed as "critically endangered" on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's "Red List" of threatened species (meaning the sturgeon is one step away from being "extinct in the wild".)

    And just to demonstrate how bad things are, in China - for the first time since records began - there was no natural reproduction of wild Chinese sturgeon on the Yangtze river last year.

    The picture isn't so great in Europe either. The Danube River basin preserves some of the most important sturgeon populations in the world today, with Romania and Bulgaria holding the only remaining viable populations of wild sturgeons within the European Union.

    Jutta Jahrl works for the World Wide Fund for Nature in Austria. She is Project Manager of the Saving Danube Sturgeons project, and she joins Derek and panel from the studio of ORF Vienna this afternoon...


    Scavenging Vultures Follow Birds Of Prey For Food

    The vulture is a glorious bird indeed, and Derek and Richard were lucky enough to see some vultures when they were in Thornybush Game Reserve in South Africa recently.

    As the above clip from the National Geographic channel illustrates, they are expert scavengers - but what you might not know is that, just like us humans, they like their food as fresh as possible - as opposed to the decaying rotting carcasses that we associate them with.

    Hooded Vulture

    And zoologists from the School of Natural Sciences at TCD have made an interesting discovery too. Vultures use social cues from birds of prey to locate food before swooping down in large groups to steal the freshest of "ready meals". Adam Kane is a PhD student at Trinity College, whose paper is entitled 'The Ecology of Obligate Scavengers from Individual Behaviour to Population Dynamics'. He joins Derek and the panel live in studio this afternoon to explain more...

    For more information on International Vulture Awareness Day, visit


    Singles Night Out!

    We are organising a singles night out for our listeners who are over 35! The where and when is still being finalised, but if you are interested in joining in the fun, then send us an e-mail! Let us know your age, gender, and if you are single. You must be available to travel to the venue at your own expense. Please send your e-mail to, with the subject line 'Singles Night Out'. And keep listening for further information!

    Search For A Child Star Finalists

    Earlier this year, we launched our competition to find Ireland's newest child star. The competition was open to boys and girls who were aged 10 years old or under. We asked you to record a piece that was no more than three minutes long, and e-mail it in to us.

    The finalists, in no particular order, are:

    - Hannah Kinsella (9 years old, from Lucan, Co. Dublin) with Pushover
    - Nikki Brown (8 years old, from Saggart, Co. Dublin) with Colours Of The Wind
    - Anna Lily Fox (6 years old, from Ballinalee, Co. Longford) with a Johnny Cash medley
    - Laoise Farrell (9 years old, from Ogonnolloe. Co. Clare) with The Call
    - Alannah Bermingham (10 years old, from Kilmacud, Dublin) with Colours Of The Wind

    The date for the final will be announced shortly and the winner will perform at our Christmas Mooney Tunes concert.

    Hedgerows and the Law

    Hedgerows in Ireland form important features in maintaining wildlife diversity and in establishing wildlife "corridors", particularly for birds. The commonest nesting birds found in hedgerows such as wrens, dunnocks, robin and willow warblers depend entirely on insects during the Summer months. In general untrimmed, thorned hedgerows containing species such as blackthorn, whitethorn and holly are favoured by birds as they provide ample food and also serve as a protection against predators.

    Section 40 of the Wildlife Act, 1976, as amended by Section 46 of the 2000 Act, provides protection for hedgerows by providing that it shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy hedgerows on uncultivated land during the nesting season from 1 March to 31 August, subject to certain exceptions. It is important that, where possible, necessary work to hedgerows is carried out outside this period.

    It is possible in most cases to schedule and carry out necessary work to hedgerows outside this period. The legislation makes provision for works (other than road or other construction works) to be carried out for reasons of public health and safety under the authority of any Minister or a body established by statute that lead to the destruction of vegetation. There is also a provision to enable the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government to request from the relevant Minister or body details of any such works together with a statement of the public health and safety factors involved.

    It shall not be an offence to destroy vegetation in the ordinary course of agriculture or forestry. Also it shall not be illegal to destroy vegetation while preparing or clearing a site for lawful building or construction works.

    It is the policy of the Minister to prosecute for offences under section 40 of the Wildlife Acts 1976 and 2000 and successful prosecutions have been taken under this section in recent years. Members of the public are encouraged to contact their local wildlife ranger and report instances where hedgerows are being destroyed during the prohibited period.

    To contact your local wildlife ranger, click here for contact details. To read the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, click here.

    To follow us on Twitter, use the handle @MooneyShow.


    Please DO NOT send any live, dead or skeletal remains of any creature whatsoever to Mooney Goes Wild.

    If you find an injured animal or bird, please contact the National Parks & Wildlife Service on 1890 20 20 21, or BirdWatch Ireland, on 01 281-9878, or visit


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    Presenter: Derek Mooney

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