Mooney Goes Wild, Sunday August 28th 2016


The prestigious annual Rose D'Or Awards (now in their 55th year) honour the very best of international radio, TV and online entertainment programmes, and they will take place later this year.  Over 400 programmes from more than 130 broadcasters and production companies in 33 different countries were submitted for this year’s Rose d’Or awards.  For the first time, a new competition category, 'Radio Event Of The Year' was created.  We entered European Dawn Chorus in this category, and we're absolutely delighted to let you know that we're one of the final nominees!!  And another programme from the Mooney team, called A Very Merry Mooney Tunes, has been shortlisted in the Radio - Music Show category! Click here to read more about the 2016 Rose D'Or Finalists, and click here to relive - and re-listen to - all the beautiful Dawn Chorus birdsong from right across Europe.

***To visit The Mooney Show website, click here!***


Twitter: @naturerte

Mooney Goes Wild

Mooney Goes Wild

Derek Mooney and guests explore the natural world in all its forms.

On Mooney Goes Wild tonight...

A spectacular but sadly written off tree transforms into a show stopping wildlife sculpture at St. Anne’s Park in Dublin - local resident and RTÉ Radio presenter Joe Duffy takes a close up look at the birds, mammals and marine life depicted.

Is wildlife turning even wilder in suburban back gardens?  We hear about one listener’s remarkable sighting just over the garden fence, as reporter Terry Flanagan goes looking for Bambi in the 'burbs.

And as a new report puts hedgehogs at risk of extinction, what can we do to protect this much loved animal?

Tree Sculpture In North Dublin

Now, you may have caught this report on the Six One news read by Bryan Dobson:  Standing at the corner of St. Anne’s Park in Raheny in Dublin, this magnificent tree, at the heart of the community, sadly came to the end of its days some months ago, as it had become unsafe.  But as you can hear in the report, new life is now emerging from this Monterey Cypress, as it’s been transformed into an absolutely stunning sculpture, which is attracting attention from far and wide.  It depicts an amazing array of wildlife, reflecting the unique birds, mammals and marine life found on North Bull Island and in the Bay.

And who better to send off to take a closer look at the tree sculpture than RTÉ Radio 1’s Liveline presenter, Joe Duffy, who explored the controversial world of public art in the TV documentary Whose Art Is It Anyway?.  Joe also happens to live in this very corner of the city, and Derek and Richard Collins met with Joe to get his impressions of the sculpture...

Well, to find out more about the history of this particular tree and how this project came about, Derek spoke with Executive Parks Superintendent for Dublin City Council, Noel McEvoy...

And as we draw to the end this story, we speak to the man whose own hands carefully sculpted the beautiful wildlife creatures now found upon this landmark tree, Tommy Craggs...  For more stunning examples of Tommy's work, visit

Bambi In The Burbs

What do you see when you look out into your back garden?  Some blue tits or goldfinches on the feeders, or maybe a blackbird or robin feeding off scraps on the ground?  You might be lucky enough to have a hedgehog or fox ramble into the garden at night.  But what are the chances of seeing a deer?

Regular listener Pat Kelly lives in South Co. Dublin, and his garden backs onto an old abandoned estate.  Looking out of his window recently, he saw a deer looking back at him.  He even managed to photograph his new neighbour!

But it got him thinking: where did it come from?  Was there more than one present?  What other exciting wild animals might be present in suburban Dublin?  Pat e-mailed the photograph into us and we sent reporter Terry Flanagan off to meet him and maybe get a glimpse of his new neighbour...

Caring For Hedgehogs

With their twitchy noses and coat of prickles, they capture the hearts and imagination of children in a way only certain animals can...

Left: Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle; Right: Hedgehog (photo:

Immortalised by Beatrix Potter in her classic story, The Tale Of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle (with the character even becoming a Royal Mail stamp last month), the hedgehog is one of nature’s most loved creatures - and no more so than in Britain, where it’s an emblem of conservation and officially the most loved wild animal.  But there are grave concerns for its future, with numbers in sharp decline.  In 1950 there were an estimated thirty million hedgehogs in Britain, but that figure is closer to just one million today.  In the RSPB’s citizen science survey earlier this year, it was found that one in four people have never seen a hedgehog in their garden and this iconic animal is now considered at risk of extinction.  In Ireland, while there’s very little data, there’s equal concern about the hedgehog’s survival both in the countryside and towns, and wildlife organisations are asking us to do everything we can to protect it. 

Right around the country, there are refuges for sick or injured hedgehogs, and in fact for any kind of wildlife creature, often run by volunteers.

One such sanctuary can be found in the north of Dublin city.  It’s run by Aideen McGee, from a spare room in her own home in Finglas.  Eanna ni Lamhna went along to meet her and the menagerie of animals in her care...

Hedgerows: It is an offence 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'. For more information, click here.

UPDATE: February 29th 2016 - Press Release From BirdWatch Ireland:

Putting the record straight: Dates for burning and hedge-cutting have NOT changed

BirdWatch Ireland, Ireland’s largest conservation charity, is very concerned about misinformation that is currently circulating regarding the dates within which the burning of vegetation and cutting of hedges is permitted.  It would like to remind landowners that all burning and cutting must cease on 29th February this year and that burning and cutting remains prohibited from 1st March to 31st August.

Despite attempts by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys T.D., to change the laws regulating these dates by introducing the Heritage Bill 2016 earlier this year, it is important to note that the proposed date changes were ultimately NOT made.  This is because the bill failed to pass through both houses of the Oireachtas before the recent dissolution of the Dáil in advance of the general election.

The laws in place governing the dates for hedge-cutting and upland burning therefore remain unchanged. The period within which cutting and burning is prohibited are set down in Section 40 of the Wildlife Act 1976 (as amended in 2000), which states that:

(a) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy, during the period beginning on the 1st day of March and ending on the 31st day of August in any year, any vegetation growing on any land not then cultivated.
(b) It shall be an offence for a person to cut, grub, burn or otherwise destroy any vegetation growing in any hedge or ditch during the period mentioned in paragraph (a) of this subsection (above).

The existing law provides exemptions for road safety and other circumstances and should be read carefully to ensure compliance.

Section 40 of the Wildlife Act exists to protect nesting birds. Many of our upland bird species are in decline and are in danger of extinction in Ireland; amongst them is the Curlew, which has declined by 80%. Many birds which nest in hedgerows into August are also in serious decline, including the endangered Yellowhammer. The changes to the cutting and burning dates which had been proposed in the now-defunct Heritage Bill 2016 would have caused serious impacts to these birds. A petition launched by BirdWatch Ireland in conjunction with several other national conservation organisations to stop these changes attracted more than 16,200 signatures and rising.

BirdWatch Ireland would also like to advise members of the public that if they see hedges being cut or fires in the uplands on or after 1st March, such activity could be illegal.  In such cases, we would encourage people to contact the National Parks and Wildlife Service ( to report such activity.

BirdWatch Ireland warmly welcomes the demise of the Heritage Bill 2016 and sincerely hopes that any future administration will consider the importance of Ireland’s natural heritage and will not attempt to reintroduce such a flawed and damaging piece of legislation.

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


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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