Mooney, Friday January 3rd 2014

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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...

John Sweeney tells us what's causing all this extreme weather and flooding. After four million years on planet Earth, the extraordinary Angel shark is now in danger of extinction. Kevin Flannery, from Dingle Ocean World, pleads to save this wonderful creature. Terry Flanagan reports on the herons feasting on goldfish in a garden pond in Dundalk. And good news for polar bears, as Arctic states reach a landmark agreement for their protection.

Caring For Garden Birds This Winter

Caring For Garden Birds This Winter

To find out how to care for and attract garden birds, read Jim Wilson's Guide To Garden Birds - CLICK HERE!

Flooding And Climate Change

Over lunchtime, we were alerted to a series of remarkable photos taken in Dublin City Centre posted on the website It showed the River Liffey with burst banks, and flooding alongside the East Link Bridge toll booths.  Around the country, we have seen similar images, of burst river banks and floating cars.  But what's behind all this extreme weather? We're joined on the phone today by Prof John Sweeney, Professor of Geography at NUI Maynooth.

To see the pictures of flooding that the team are chatting about, visit (you'll need to scroll down the page a bit to get to the flooding images).

Invading Heron

Recently, Paddy McArdle from Dundalk got in touch looking for help. Paddy has a lovely pond in his back garden (and Derek should know – both he and Eanna were there a number of years ago!).

But he has a problem. His fish are disappearing at a rapid rate.

And he knows who the culprit is! But how can he get rid of him? We sent our reporter Terry Flanagan off to Louth to offer his advice...

The guilty heron!

The heron with a fish

The heron goes after more prey...

Angel Sharks Going Extinct?

Believe it or not, the prehistoric angel shark has been native to Irish waters for around four million years. But decades of netting has all but wiped out this once-plentiful creature.

Kevin Flannery is Director of Dingle Oceanworld, and he joins Derek and the panel from the RTÉ Cork studio to tell us more...

An Angel Shark

Polar Bear Action Plan

Polar Bear Action Plan

Despite their beauty and iconic status, it really is a tough life, being a polar bear! And climate change is making it even tougher. It really is an amazing species, the polar bear. It's the largest land-based predator. It's incredibly well-adapted to the extremes of the polar climate and long periods without food. It’s also the only land mammal whose main habitat is the drifting ice. And when you consider that the Arctic ice is predicted to disappear during the summer months over the next half-century, you can see how vulnerable the beautiful polar bear is to climate change. Certainly more than most species.

Well, good news emerged recently for the polar bear. The main countries where the polar bear roams have come together to agree an action plan which, hopefully, will further stem the decline in their numbers.

Geoff York, polar bear conservation co-ordinator for the World Wildlife Fund’s Global Arctic Programme, joins the panel on the line this afternoon from Alaska to tell us more...

Eanna's Acting Debut!

Eanna's Acting Debut!

Eanna ni Lamhna will be taking to the stage for the very first time this month, in her bid to become the next Dame Judi Dench!

Here on Mooney Goes Wild, we all know Eanna already as one of Ireland's great drama queens! But from Thursday, January 16th - Saturday, January 18th, Eanna will be appearing onstage at the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin for three nights in aid of Barnardos - in the company of many others.

Under My Bed is a patchwork of childhood stories from some of Ireland’s most recognisable faces – chefs, broadcasters, politicians, writers, actors, musicians, people such as Mary O’Rourke, pianist Mícheál O’Suilleabháin, singer/songwriter Eleanor McEvoy and Catherine Fulvio.

Tickets cost €30, with all monies going directly to Barnardos.  Performances start at 7:30 each evening, and for more information, 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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