Why is it so difficult to swat a fly? Because to the fly, you are operating in slow motion! Amazing new research from Trinity College in Dublin explores time perception in animals, and its lead author, Kevin Healy, joins the Mooney Goes Wild team to tell all!
Eanna ni Lamhna teams up with David Millard, from Bord Iascaigh Mhara, to go seaweed hunting in Dublin.
And Davide Bomben, Rhino Ranger and World Leader in Rhino Protection, joins Derek to talk about his work, and World Rhino Day on this Sunday, September 22nd.
Last week, we were talking about crime against wildlife and how too often such crimes are brought to our attention on this programme. Today, we saw a terrible picture of a white rhino, bloodied and amputated of its horns.
The rhino is known as Thandi, and she had her horns hacked off by pangas, which are not unlike machetes. It is one of too many stories of rhinos butchered for a thriving illegal trade in rhino horns.
You might not think that this crime has any connection with us here in Ireland, but you would be wrong. This Sunday happens to be World Rhino Day and today are joined in studio by Rhino Ranger Davide Bomben, who is a a world leader in rhino protection.
Mooney Goes Wild reporter Terry Flanagan is in studio today, and he was at the movies last night - NOT to see Monsters University, or The Smurfs, in 3-D or otherwise! And NOT to see Diana, the recently released movie about Diana, Princess of Wales.
Terry went to a biographical picture of an entirely different kind - exploring the life of the world-famous astrophysicist, Stephen Hawking, no less, and he Terry joins Derek in studio today to tell us what he made of it all!
For more information about the documentary Hawking, visit www.vertigofilms.com/hawking.
There are no plans to screen Hawking in the Republic of Ireland, but it will be available as a download on iTunes from later today.
As an island nation we are surrounded by sea - but we are also surrounded by something else: seaweed! About 500 different species, in fact. Most of us have heard of Dulse or Carrigeen - edible seaweeds – but most of us just ignore seaweed as 'stuff on the beach'. However seaweed is pretty fascinating... AND lucrative!
Eanna ni Lamhna isn’t with us today, but earlier this week she met up with David Millard, Regional Development Officer with Bord Iascaigh Mhara in Castletownbere and they went seaweed-hunting in Dublin…
Extreme Greens: Understanding Seaweed, by Sally McKenna, is published by Estragon Press, and the ISBN is 978-1906927-196. The RRP is £18.
Last year, you might remember the pictures that went around the world of a murmuration of starlings around Mullingar, Co Westmeath. It was absolutely astonishing. Thousands upon thousands of starlings, dashing and swooshing through the air, at breakneck speed, and in the most intricate formations you can imagine! And what's astonishing to the human eye is the fact that they can achieve such incredible speeds, in such vast numbers, and never crash into each other! How do they manage it?
And what about flies? How do they manage to buzz around your kitchen, with all those obstacles, and never crash into anything? And obstacles include the rolled up newspaper you use to try to swat the little critters!
The reason is that animals like flies and starlings, and in truth animals of all kinds, perceive time and motion in a completely different way to human beings. We might wonder how the fly avoids a rolled up newspaper. But the fly can probably see it coming a mile away! And at a much slower speed than we can perceive.
It's an amazing phenomenon, and it's been explored in depth by Kevin Healy. Kevin is a PhD student at the School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, and he is the lead author of a study exploring time perception in animals.
To read the full paper, visit www.sciencedirect.com.
Hedgerows and the Law
Hedgerows in Ireland form important features in maintaining wildlife diversity and in establishing wildlife "corridors", particularly for birds. The commonest nesting birds found in hedgerows such as wrens, dunnocks, robin and willow warblers depend entirely on insects during the Summer months. In general untrimmed, thorned hedgerows containing species such as blackthorn, whitethorn and holly are favoured by birds as they provide ample food and also serve as a protection against predators.
Section 40 of the Wildlife Act, 1976, as amended by Section 46 of the 2000 Act, provides protection for hedgerows by providing that it shall be an offence for a person 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. It is important that, where possible, necessary work to hedgerows is carried out outside this period.
It is possible in most cases to schedule and carry out necessary work to hedgerows outside this period. The legislation makes provision for works (other than road or other construction works) to be carried out for reasons of public health and safety under the authority of any Minister or a body established by statute that lead to the destruction of vegetation. There is also a provision to enable the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government to request from the relevant Minister or body details of any such works together with a statement of the public health and safety factors involved.
It shall not be an offence to destroy vegetation in the ordinary course of agriculture or forestry. Also it shall not be illegal to destroy vegetation while preparing or clearing a site for lawful building or construction works.
It is the policy of the Minister to prosecute for offences under section 40 of the Wildlife Acts 1976 and 2000 and successful prosecutions have been taken under this section in recent years. Members of the public are encouraged to contact their local wildlife ranger and report instances where hedgerows are being destroyed during the prohibited period.
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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 www.irishwildlifematters.ie