Friday, March 22nd 2013

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Caring For Wild Animals

Please note that many species of mammals, birds, invertebrates etc... are protected under law and that, even with the best of intentions, only someone holding a relevant licence from the National Parks & Wildlife Service should attempt the care of these animals.  For full details, please click here to read the NPWS Checklist of protected & rare species in Ireland.  If you are concerned about a wild animal, please contact your local wildlife ranger - click here for details.

Events & Listings

Click here for a full list of events taking place around the country, and movies currently on release, which might be of interest to wildlife lovers!

On Mooney Goes Wild today...

On Mooney Goes Wild today...

Derek talks to the Cork student who has developed a 'Zero-discharge wastewater treatment' using Willow trees, Terry Flanagan celebrates Potato Day tomorrow, and Katriona McFadden reports from Co. Mayo where a new project is "re-wilding" 11,000 hectares of wilderness!



Big Mountain ‏Productions, who make The Genealogy Roadshow, have been in touch to let us know that due to the weather in Northern Ireland, it has been decided to reschedule the Derry Roadshow to Saturday, April 20th 2013, for public safety.

Snakes In Ireland? Never! By Eanna Ni Lamhna

Snakes In Ireland? Never! By Eanna Ni Lamhna

We all know that St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland and that indeed he left the country in such a state that snakes could never live here even if they inadvertently arrived. Why, Giraldus Cambrensis - the gullible lackey of King John, who came here on a fact-finding mission in the twelfth century – was solemnly told that there were no amphibians, snakes or reptiles in Ireland. In fact the tale was embellished with the ‘fact’ that when anything venomous was brought here from other lands it never could exist in Ireland.

To find out more, download the Mooney app, for iPhone and Android phones, to read the rest of Eanna's article, and much more!

Willow Tree Wastewater System

Willow Tree Wastewater System

Research student Fergus McAuliffe is a man with us who is on a mission! He wants to revolutionise our septic tanks, and get rid of our waste water. How exactly, you might ask? By planting willow trees!

Fergus is a Postgrad student in the School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences (BEES) at UCC, and he joins Derek, Richard and Eanna today from our Cork studio to explain more...

The Mayo Wilderness Project

A huge area of Mayo (110 square kilometres to be precise!) has been designated as a ‘wilderness area’ - a place that will be totally wild and unmanaged. Mooney Goes Wild’s Katriona McFadden went to some beauty spots in the proposed Nephin Wilderness Project, and met some of those behind the project, including Bill Murphy, Head of Recreation and Environment in Coillte…  For more information about the project, click here.

Potato Day This Saturday!

Potato Day This Saturday!

This Saturday is Potato Day, which is being celebrated at Sonairte, the Ecology Centre in Laytown, Co. Meath and which will be open to the public.

So what is a Potato Day?

It is a dedicated day when lovers and growers of the humble spud gather together to look, learn, eat and buy the tubers to plant for the new growing season. Over two hundred varieties are grown in Ireland nowadays. There will be over 100 varieties of potato on display over the weekend and there will be over 20 varieties for sale from the most modern to some of the oldest, with white, gold, blue, purple & black skins, and white, yellow, blue & red flesh. There will be heritage varieties from Ireland, Scotland, the UK, France, the USA & Mexico. Most of these potatoes are organic and all are certified disease free.

Terry Flanagan went to Laytown to find out more from Trevor Sargent, Chairperson of Sonairte.

Swallow Sightings

There is a worry out there that swallows are on the decline.  Have you seen any recently? Declan Manley has been observing swallows for over 20 years at his farm in Edenderry, and he joins us from his home in Offaly to tell us what he has recorded...

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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