Mooney, Friday August 29th 2014

Follow Us On Social Media:


Twitter: @naturerte

E-mail Us:

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, with Shay Byrne...

On Mooney Goes Wild today, with Shay Byrne...

There's a shout-out to the Irish public to help count our Irish stoats. We find out about a hugely ambitious new atlas that set out to map all the marine life of the Southern Ocean. And we chat about de-extinction: the science and morals of attempting to re-introduce long-extinct species...

National Heritage Week

National Heritage Week

National Heritage Week continues until this Sunday, August 31st, with a variety of events happening all across the country. Eanna brings us a sample of those. To learn more about National Heritage Week, and find out what's happening in your local area, visit

Searching For Irish Stoats

We get a phenomenal amount of e-mails sent to Mooney Goes Wild’each week, often with photos attached asking us to identify something or other. At the minute we’re getting a huge number of caterpillar and moth e-mails.

But every now and again we get a picture asking us: "is this a weasel?". And it often shocks people to learn that we don't actually HAVE weasels here in Ireland.  What they have in their photo is usually a stoat. But not just any old stoat. The 'Irish Stoat', to be precise: Mustela Erminea Hibernica, which is only found here in Ireland and on the Isle of Man.

And a new study into the Irish Stoat is looking for YOUR help.  They want you to report any sightings of stoats to help them build up a fuller picture of this unique, elusive little creature.

Dr Colin Lawton is heading up the project. He's a Mammal Ecology Lecturer in NUI Galway and he joins us from RTÉ's Galway studio...

Colin is calling on listeners to report stoat sightings. So little is known about the Irish Stoat - the size of the stoat population is unknown, and he is hoping that Citizen Science will help us.

To report stoat sightings:

Complete the online survey on their Facebook page,, or search 'Irish Stoat Project'. E-mail or call either 091-492903 or 086 066-0208.

Biogeographic Atlas Of The Southern Ocean

Anyone who likes their coffee table books, listen up because we have news on possibly one of the most magnificent coffee table books ever. It's 900 pages long, weighs 3.5kg, and documents in full glorious colour one of the most thorough audits ever of marine life in the Southern Ocean.

Leading marine biologists and oceanographers from all over the world, including NUI Galway's Dr Louise Allcock, spent the last four years compiling information on more than 9,000 species for this great tome - and Louise joins us this afternoon from RTÉ Galway to tell us more about it!

The Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean is published by the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, Scott Polar Research Institute, in Cambridge ( For more information about the Atlas, visit The RRP is approx €99.

Hen Harriers

This time last year Derek spoke to Barry O'Donoghue, Head of Agri-Environment with the National Parks and Wildlife Service. Barry explained how he had just begun to satellite track two birds called Sally and Heather, from Mount Eagle in County Kerry, when disaster struck. Sally died. So we were wondering, twelve months on, how is Heather doing? Barry joins us on the line this afternoon with an update...

Cordal Nest satellite tagging in mature forestry adjacent to nest on July 13th 2013. This is Heather (younger bird) and Sally

The Irish Hen Harrier Winter Survey is now entering its 10th season, and Barry would like to encourage any teachers listening in to get involved and follow the project on line, by visiting or their Facebook page.


We've all heard of extinction - species disappearing off the face of the earth, be it due to the cruelty of man or nature. But lately, there's been a lot of talk of DE-extinction, as suggested in the movie Jurassic Park.

In the movie, dinosaur DNA was extracted from an insect that had sucked the blood of a dinosaur, and the insect then perished before that DNA could be broken down. The DNA was used to create a living dinosaur. It made for a great movie, but surely it couldn’t be done in real life. Or could it?

Mooney Goes Wild reporter Terry Flanagan has been looking into this fascinating topic for us, and joins us in studio to tell us what he has found...

To watch Stewart Brand's TED talk "The Dawn Of De-extinction – Are You Ready?" (as referenced by Terry), click here.

Sketch of passenger pigeons being hunted

 Sketch of passenger pigeon

Singles Night Out!

Singles Night Out!

We are organising a singles night out for our listeners who are over 35! The where and when is still being finalised, but if you are interested in joining in the fun, then send us an e-mail! Let us know your age, gender, and if you are single. You must be available to travel to the venue at your own expense. Please send your e-mail to, with the subject line 'Singles Night Out'. And keep listening for further information!

Search For A Child Star Finalists

Search For A Child Star Finalists

Earlier this year, we launched our competition to find Ireland's newest child star. The competition was open to boys and girls who were aged 10 years old or under. We asked you to record a piece that was no more than three minutes long, and e-mail it in to us.

The finalists, in no particular order, are:

- Hannah Kinsella (9 years old, from Lucan, Co. Dublin) with Pushover
- Nikki Brown (8 years old, from Saggart, Co. Dublin) with Colours Of The Wind
- Anna Lily Fox (6 years old, from Ballinalee, Co. Longford) with a Johnny Cash medley
- Laoise Farrell (9 years old, from Ogonnolloe. Co. Clare) with The Call
- Alannah Bermingham (10 years old, from Kilmacud, Dublin) with Colours Of The Wind

The date for the final will be announced shortly and the winner will perform at our Christmas Mooney Tunes concert.

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


***Download the Dawn Chorus 2017 podcasts***

Dawn Chorus 2017 - First Hour - 00:00 - 01:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Second Hour - 01:00 - 02:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Third Hour - 02:00 - 03:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Fourth Hour - 03:00 - 04:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Fifth Hour - 04:00 - 05:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Sixth Hour - 05:00 - 06:00



Contact the Show

RTÉ is not responsible for the content of external websites

Presenter: Derek Mooney


Ways to Listen

Radio Player