Mooney Goes Wild, Sunday July 2nd 2017

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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 tonight...

Fish and chips are on the menu, as we ask marine biologist Dr. Ken Whelan what changes in the marine industry might mean for our dinner plates.  As we mark Asteroid Day, Dr. John Regan tells us about the chances of an asteroid crashing into the Earth, and whether we could we really suffer the same fate as dinosaurs 66 million years ago.  And Niall Hatch learns about a family drama among the chimney stacks in the heart of Dublin city, where gulls have made their nest...

Your MGW panel tonight: Dr. Richard Collins, Dr. John Regan, Eanna ni Lamhna & Dr. Ken Whelan

Sustainable Salmon Farming

After all the negative press farmed salmon has received over the years, in particular the threats posed to wild salmon, it’s a great thing to see the emergence of more sustainable technologies.  One of these is closed containment.  Unlike open net pen farmed salmon, this new innovation is getting the thumbs up from scientists, environmentalists and the public alike.  Mooney Goes Wild's resident marine biologist, Dr. Ken Whelan, is a fisheries scientist and keen angler since the age of four, and he joins Derek, Richard and Eanna in studio to explain exactly what closed containment aquaculture is...

A relatively new option in closed containment is the use of a type of membrane.  This is a type of semi-permeable wall that lets oxygen, water and nutrients through but keeps the sea lice out.  There is an egg shaped container that has been tried and tested in this regard.

This new egg may revolutionise closed containment fishing; images:

The technology for this new futuristic egg-shaped enclosure which bobs in water was unveiled in 2015 and  is designed to enclose salmon in an egg-shaped geometric dome.  The shape provides a seamless double curved surface.  Ninety percent of the tank is submersed at all times, while ten percent is above.

Asteroid Day 2017

Brian May is known throughout the world as being a global rock star, an iconic member of Queen and one of the greatest guitarists of all time.  But did you know that Brian the musiciain is also Dr. Brian May, astrophysicist, and one of the founders of Asteroid Day?  Asteroid Day took place on Friday, June 30th, and aims to increase our knowledge of asteroids - one of which caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, thus changing life on Earth.  Could the same thing ever happen again?  And could it be prevented?  To tell us more about it, we’re joined in studio by Dr. John Regan, from the Centre for Astro-Physics & Relativity at DCU...

Dr. John Regan in discussion with Eanna ni Lamhna

For more information about Dr. John Regan, his research and work, visit, and to learn more about the Centre for Astrophysics and Relativity, visit  For more info on Asteroid Day, visit  And for more on the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, you may be interested in this recent programme from the BBC: The Day The Dinosaurs Died.

The Gull Drama Of Ballsbridge

It’s around this time of year when one creature seems to dominate news headlines more than any other… and that’s the gull.  Words such as vicious and intimidating leap off the page, with reports of flocks dive bombing, attacking and assaulting other birds, animals and even humans.  Earlier this year, the Government sanctioned the removal of gulls’ nests and their eggs in the north Dublin village of Balbriggan.  This followed complaints from many locals about the behaviour of gulls that have congregated there in recent years.  However, not everyone agrees with this approach, saying it’s too heavy handed and that an unnecessary level of hysteria is being created.

The Gulls Of Ballsbridge

Last Wednesday afternoon, the phone rang in our office.  On the line was a listener living in south Dublin who was very concerned about a seagull family nesting in his chimney stack.  John McDonnell, who lives with his family in Ballsbridge, was looking for urgent advice.  One of the three chicks had become separated.  It was alone in the front garden and its parents had stopped caring for it.  He was worried that a fox or cat might kill it.  Niall Hatch of BirdWatch Ireland went to visit John, to offer his assistance...

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

Music Played on the Show

Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody





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Presenter: Derek Mooney


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