Mooney, Friday July 19th 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!



The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group have just launched their Atlas of Marine mammals around the coast of Ireland - and we have some copies to give away to listeners! Terry Flanagan discovers one of the rarest of rare visitors to this island, the shy, retiring dormouse. And we talk to Dr. Ioannis Ieropoulos from the University of the West of England, who has come up with a novel way of charging your phone battery: using urine!

DSPCA Inundated With Calls About Seabirds Not Fledging

DSPCA Inundated With Calls About Seabirds Not Fledging

The DSPCA, Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, contacted us during the week, telling us that they are INUNDATED with phone calls about the same subject!

Seagulls. Or more accurately, just "gulls".

At this time of year, young gulls are taking that great leap and are fledging their nests... To the uneducated eye, it can look like the chicks in the nest are actually in trouble. But generally, this is not the case.

Here to tell us what to do if you see one of these gulls is Gillian Bird, Head of Education at the DSPCA...

To find out more, and to see images of fledgling birds, visit their Facebook page.

Dormice Sighting

Terry Flanagan saw a mouse this week... but he wasn’t in a windmill in old Amsterdam! And he wasn’t there on the stair. He was in Kildare!

Specifically, he was at the Kildare Animal Foundation where he met Don Donoher, and the adult female dormouse there...

             The Kildare dormouse; photo by Terry Flanagan

Dr. Colin Lawton is Head of Mammal Ecology in NUI Galway, and he wants your help with a survey of dormice in Ireland! He would like you to report any sightings you have of a dormouse in Ireland.

Dormice are about the same size as a mouse, usually weighing less than 20g, although they can be twice that weight just before hibernating. They have large black eyes (they are mostly active at night) and a thick furry tail quite unlike that of a mouse. They are more closely related to squirrels than the mice we have in this country.

Dormice are woodland animals, who nest in shrubs and hedgerows, particularly those containing hazel (as their name suggests) or brambles. They like to eat fruit, nuts, flowers or insects depending on what is available. Often they are seen in the summer feeding at bird tables, particularly those close to suitable woodland.

If you see a dormouse, then e-mail and they will get back to you - and if you get a picture, all the better! Or you can also make contact via their Facebook page:

Trinity College Tar Drop Experiment Succeeds After 69 Years!

Trinity College Tar Drop Experiment Succeeds After 69 Years!

When it comes to reporting science in the media, journalists are always looking for "Eureka" moments - huge, groundbreaking moments of scientific progress that make a great story in the newspaper.

Unfortunately, science doesn't work that way. As Thomas Edison said, "genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration". And most scientific experiments tend to be long, laborious and painstaking.

Researchers at Trinity College recently demonstrated this phenomenon, in probably the most extreme way possible. They have just concluded an experiment that was started all the way back in 1944

1944 was the year Casablanca was the big winner at the Oscars. And the Nazis still occupied large parts of Europe.

Most of the people involved in setting up this experiment are no longer with us. But researcher Prof. Shane Bergin, from Trinity College, was one of those involved in bringing it to a conclusion.

He's here in studio now to tell us how an experiment takes 69 years to conclude!

To find out more about the Tar Drop, the world's slowest-moving drop, and to view the video, visit

IWDG Atlas Of Marine Mammals

IWDG Atlas Of Marine Mammals

The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group has just published its' Atlas Of The Distribution And Relative Abundance Of Marine Mammals In Irish Offshore Waters: 2005 – 2011, and one of it's authors, Dave Wall, joins Shay in studio today to tell us all about it!

To find out more about the Atlas, and the IWDG, visit the IWDG website.

We offered you a chance to win a copy of the Atlas by answering this question: What kind of animal was Moby Dick? The answer was whale or white whale, and the first five listeners to text us the correct answers were: John, Patrick Buttimer from Cork, Jen Marley from Athlone, Joe Jones from Westmeath and Clare Keogh from Cork.

***All the winners have now been contacted - a huge thank-you to everyone who entered!***

Charging Smartphones Using Urine

Charging Smartphones Using Urine

It has happened to most, if not all of us: the little bleep as your battery dies, just as you have to make an important call or send a hilarious text response to someone...

Well, we learned this week that this could become a thing of the past, as scientists working at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, which is a collaboration between the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and the University of Bristol, have developed a novel way of charging mobile phones using urine as the power source to generate electricity.

Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of the West of England, and he joins us today from the BBC Bristol studios to explain more...

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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