Mooney Goes Wild

    Sunday, 10pm-11pm, RTÉ Radio 1

    Mooney Goes Wild, Sunday July 5th 2015


    Mooney Goes Wild

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

    On Mooney Goes Wild tonight...

    BirdWatch Ireland's Niall Hatch tells us about saving Maltese birdlife and Belfast's Swift City, reporter Terry Flanagan finds out about tagging deer in the Phoenix Park, and Aberdeen's Professor Keith Dobney explains the link between chimps & bad backs!

    Birds Of Malta

    In Malta, the illegal hunting of migratory birds is a massive, entrenched problem. Malta may be small in size, but a large proportion of Europe's migratory birds pass through it both in spring and in autumn, so the hunting there is having a disproportionately large effect on bird populations across all of Europe and Africa. Regular Mooney Goes Wild contributor Niall Hatch (pictured left), who is Development Officer with BirdWatch Ireland, has just returned from Malta, where he met with members of BirdLife Malta, their partner organisation, to find out more...

    To learn more about the recent Maltese referendum, in which a ban on spring hunting was rejected, click here.  And to watch BirdWatch Ireland's new video, highlighting their #SaveOurNature campaign (which Niall featured on this show recently), click on the video below... 

    Swift City, Belfast

    Niall Hatch has just returned from Belfast, meets with Peter Cush, Senior Scientific Officer with Northern Ireland Environment Agency, to learn about swift cities, and how birds nest soup is made from swifts spit...

    Crescent Arts Centre, Swift City, Belfast

    Niall Hatch with Peter Cush

     Information Board at Swift City, Belfast

    To find out more about Belfast's Swift City, visit

    Tagging Deer In The Phoenix Park

    The Phoenix Park is well known for many things, including, the Zoo, Áras an Uachtaráin and the Papal Cross. But visitors leaving the Park generally take another lasting memory with them. - that of the fallow deer. Did you know, that at any time the population of deer in the Park is approx. 600 and that the herd has been present for over 350 years now!

    Dr. Favele Naulty with a recently tagged fawn

    For many years now, members of the Zoology Dept. from UCD, along with the Park Rangers, have been studying these animals closely. This entails capturing the young fawns and tagging them.

    A young fawn just after being caught

    Last Sunday was a big day in the Park as members of the Irish Deer Society turned out in force to lend assistance in the capturing them, and our reporter Terry Flanagan was also there, to monitor proceedings...

    For more photos from the event, please visit the Irish Deer Society's Facebook page.

    Chimps & Bad Backs

    Anybody who has suffered from back pain knows how unbelievably debilitating it can be. Days, weeks, months off work. Physiotherapy, occupational therapy, massive changes in lifestyle - it really can turn your whole life on its head.

    So, anything we can do to better understand back problems in humans can have huge benefits in the long term. Some of the most interesting research in this area came to light recently. And it's not research by chiropractors and physiotherapists. It's been conducted by archaeologists and anthropologists!

    The research involves going back in time to study back problems in our ancestors: human ancestors over the last few hundred years, and our ancient evolutionary ancestors: our primate cousins!

    Prof Keith Dobney is the Head of Archaeology and the Chair of Human Palaeo-Ecology at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, and he's been one of the leaders of this fascinating new direction in research.  He joins us from the BBC studio in Aberdeen to explain more...

    For further information on this story, click here, to read the full paper The ancestral shape hypothesis: an evolutionary explanation for the occurrence of intervertebral disc herniation in humans, click here, and for more information on Professor Dobney's various pieces of research, click here.

    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.

    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


    If you require a CD copy of this programme please e-mail or click here for RTÉ Archives sales form. Transfer fees and terms and conditions apply.

    Mooney Goes Wild

    Latest Show

    Mooney Goes Wild on Twitter

    Presenter: Derek Mooney

    Schedule Open Schedule