Mooney - Monday, May 27th 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 today...

On Mooney today...

200,000 YouTube hits later, Derek has the latest news on the cat who has adopted the ducklings on the farm in Clara. Katriona meets the 'Scoodoos' – ancient tree spirits who are currently visiting Ireland. Conor Faughnan from the AA has the latest motoring news. And Colin Stafford-Johnson lets us in on Tthe Secret Life Of The Shannon...

BioBlitz 2013

Over the course of 24 hours, from 5pm last Friday until 5pm last Saturday, a biological survey took place in four locations across Ireland: Wicklow Mountains National Park, Burren National Park, Lough Key Forest Park and Colebrooke Estate in Fermanagh.  The television coverage was fronted by Sinéad Kennedy, Derek Mooney and Colin Stafford-Johnson (pictured above).  A huge thank-you to the 180 scientists and recorders who worked to identify so many species, and congratulations to the winners, who were Colebrooke Estate!

You can find out more about the BioBlitz by visiting

Click here to view the first programme from Friday night, and click here to view the results show, that aired last night.

Duckling Adoption Update

Last Thursday, we were the first to bring you the extraordinary story of Ronan and Emma Lally’s ‘White Cat’.

She had adopted three ducklings on the Lally’s farm in Clara in Co Offaly – and was actually breast feeding them.

If you don’t believe us have a look! 

This first one that Katriona shot last Thursday night (which, by the way, has now got over 205,000 views on YouTube!! And counting!!)

AND a more up-to-date video that was filmed by the Lally’s friend Maura Cunningham over the weekend that shows Day Six in the life of these little ducklings.

Well we’re all just dying to know how this relationship is progressing and Ronan Lally is on the phone now from his home in Clara, Co Offaly, as is vet Andrew Byrne, and Niall Hatch from BirdWatch Ireland joins us in studio.


The Secret Life Of The Shannon

The Secret Life Of The Shannon

Last night’s The Secret Life of the Shannon was the first of two new programmes on RTÉ One about the River Shannon, beautifully filmed by Emmy-award winning wildlife cameraman Colin Stafford-Johnson, who is with us in studio today!

To watch the first episode back again on the RTÉ Player, click here.

The second and final episode will be broadcast next Sunday, June 2nd, on RTÉ One at 6.30pm.

Motoring Stories

Motoring Stories

The recent row between the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter and TD Mick Wallace was around the issue of penalty points. We’re not going to talk about the rights and wrongs of that argument here but the latest figures we have for the numbers of drivers who are getting penalty points shows a decrease. So good news then? Drivers are getting the message and they’re changing their behaviour? Maybe that’s not quite the case though...

Conor Faughnan, Director of Policy with AA Ireland is in studio to explain...


Our reporter Katriona McFadden is in studio with Derek, and with her is a 'creature' made out of twigs – a 'Scoodoo'!  It's a 'tree spirit', and is apparently communicating with Derek right now!

Every Scoodoo is different; the one in studio is quite small, but when Katriona travelled to Mayo she saw several big Scoodoos – some the size of people - and they are showing up in all manner of places. There was one on the Charlestown roundabout for example, they have shown up on the side of the N17, they’ve come to Dublin.

Ciaran Burke and his Finnish wife Hannah run The Garden School in Ballaghdereen, and they are responsible for bringing them to life. They’re making them and putting them in strange places to get people talking – and they just found out they’ll be exhibiting at BLOOM in Phoenix Park this year! So Katriona went to Mayo to meet them... For more information about scoodoos, visit

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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Presenter: Derek Mooney


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