Mooney, Friday March 28th 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...

We hear about the campaign to save the seahorse, which it's estimated will be extinct in 8517 days from today, and find out how overhead electricity cables affect migrating animals...

War Horse

War Horse

On Wednesday, Richard Collins went along to the opening night of the play War Horse, in Dublin's Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.  It's a production that has been winning universal rave reviews, but what would our Richard make of it? He joins us in studio to give us his reaction to the performance he saw...

War Horse continues at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre until April 26th, with tickets costing from €20 to €60. For more information, click here...

Dairy Farms In New Zealand

Visitors from New Zealand will have heard of the Selwyn River which flows through the Selwyn District of Canterbury in the South Island. It's a huge river, 80km long. But according to our marine biologist Ken Whelan, it's gone! It's an ex-river!

Ken was there for five weeks, from mid-January to late-February. New Zealand is getting into dairy farming in a big way because there is such a big demand for milk powder from the Chinese.

Dairy farming extracts huge amounts of water and this has caused a lot of controversy among farmers, environmentalists, politicians and tourist organisations. Ken joins us in studio today with more...

Irrigration Units in New Zealand

Irrigration Units in New Zealand 

Saving Seahorses

Saving Seahorses

According to the marine biologist Kealan Doyle, seahorses could be extinct in 8517 days from today! Last year his documentary Save Our Seahorses enthalled audiences on RTÉ. Did you know that the seahorse is the only animal in the world where the male gives birth, and they can give birth to 4,000 babies at a time?! Pregnancy lasts for two weeks and labour for two hours. And did you also know that the male dances around the female every single morning? They are most fascinating fish, and we're delighted that Kealan joins us in studio this afternoon to tell us more about the seahorse - and what we can do to prevent their extinction...

For more information about Kealan, visit or

Terry's Blackbird

Terry's Blackbird

Mooney Goes Wild reporter Terry Flanagan has a blackbird nesting in his back garden, which unseasonably early. We link up with Terry and Niall Hatch, Development Officer with BirdWatch Ireland, this afternoon to find out more about his bird!

UV Light & Migration

UV Light & Migration

Ultraviolet light gives us suntans, sunburn, it helps us make Vitamin D – but we humans can’t see it. It’s invisible to us. But NOT to many animals. Their eyes CAN see UV light and, as a result, they see the world very differently to us. Reindeer's eyes are particularly UV-sensitive. It’s estimated that a high-tech camera can only pick up 5 percent of the UV light that a reindeer's eye can!

But why is this important?

Well, there are all sorts of sources of UV Light. One of them is from overhead power cables. And it turns out that reindeer, and other animals, are being scared off by the UV flashes that emit from these power cables - flashes that we humans can’t see. And it’s affecting habitats and migration.

Glen Jeffrey has been doing research into this. He is a Professor of Neuroscience at University College London – he specialises in how animals see the world - and he joins us this afternoon from the BBC London studios...

Eurovision Green Room Party

Eurovision Green Room Party

Join Mooney in our Eurovision Green Room at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on Saturday, May 10th 2014. The party takes place in the Circle Club.

If you want to be there, all you have to do is tell us in not more than forty words why you and a friend or friends LOVE the Eurovision. All entrants/attendees must be over 18. If you are lucky enough to receive a golden invitation to our EUROVISION GREEN ROOM you will get to see all the action as it happens live from Copenhagen.

  • Tickets will be allocated to couples and groups of four people.
  • All attendees must make their own way to and from the venue.
  • There is no cash alternative to this prize.
  • Closing date for receipt of entries is April 25th 2014
  • Usual RTE terms and conditions apply.

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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