As animal loving Buddhists, who released live lobsters into the sea, face heavy fines, Dr. Ken Whelan joins us to take a look at the latest invasive species in our waters: pink salmon. It’s hard to breathe easy with the news that microplastics are polluting the atmosphere - but what can we do to reduce their levels? Richard Collins talks to Anne Marie Mahon in GMIT to find out. And Terry Flanagan meets a Kilkenny farmer who is adopting baby hedgehogs born in his barn, as nature wraps up for winter...
Invasive Pink Salmon
Mooney Goes Wild's resident marine biologist Dr Ken Whelan joins Derek, Richard Collins and Eanna ni Lamhna in studio tonight explain why he has been tracing the increasing appearances of pink salmon in Irish rivers, and the possible impact they could have on our native species of Atlantic Salmon...
The first reported capture of a pink salmon in Irish waters in 2017, from the Galway Weir fishery on the River Corrib, Galway City (photo courtesy of Inland Fisheries Ireland)
At this time of year, when the days are getting shorter and there’s a definite nip in the air, what could be better than pulling on a jacket, putting on a pair of comfortable shoes and heading outside into the fresh air for an energising autumnal walk? It’s a bit like being a child again - kicking through the crunchiest of leaves, collecting shiny conkers in your pocket and relishing the warmest of nature’s colours - all evoking memories of Halloween, pumpkins and spooky November nights. The softness of summer has given way to the crispness of autumn and just by breathing in the fresh air, you somehow feel like it’s working medicinal wonders.
But is it? And what are you actually breathing in?
We already know that cars emit several types of pollutants such as carbon monoxide and oxides of nitrogen - but research is showing that microplastic particles are also contaminating the atmosphere and even our tap water, with potential risks for our health.
Dr. Anne Marie Mahon from GMIT with Dr. Richard Collins
Anne Marie Mahon, from the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, is at the forefront of research into microplastics in our environment - and Richard and Derek travelled to Galway to meet her to find out more...
It’s the first of October and memories of warm summer days are fading fast, as autumn seduces us with its own irresistible charms. In the words of poet John Keats, it’s "the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness", a kaleidoscope of jewel-like colours, from ruby reds to burnished gold, are adorning our landscape as nature puts on its show stopping display.
It’s also a changing world for our wildlife. Birds are trading places, swallows have left our shores for Africa and Brent Geese and Whooper Swans are flying in from the north. Many of our animals, such as hedgehogs, are now getting ready for hibernation and that means building up enough fat stores to get them through the long winter. For any hoglets born this year, it’s a crucial time and never more so than for those born in late summer - the ‘autumn juveniles’, as they’re called, which have a low chance of survival.
The Mooney Goes Wild team were recently contacted by a farmer called Tony Blackmore. Tony lives in south Kilkenny and he had just discovered a litter of baby hedgehogs in his barn. He was concerned that they wouldn’t make it through the winter. So armed with plenty of useful advice, Mooney Goes Wild reporter Terry Flanagan set off to meet him...
***A reminder from Bev Truss, from The Hogsprickle Wildlife Rescue***
IT IS IMPERATIVE that in instances such as Tony's, members of the public really need to contact a Wildlife Rehabilitator, who hold a NPWS license. Please bear in mind that hedgehogs are a protected species in Ireland, and to have one in your care you MUST apply for a license from the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). To take hedgehogs from the wild would be breaking the law.
PLEASE PLEASE text or phone if you need help with injured wildlife or birds. ALL the rescues here are rehabilitated under NPWS license. PLEASE don't try to rehabilitate as quite often wildlife and wild birds become stressed around humans and will die. A reminder that a NPWS license is required to keep an injured or disabled protected animal - for more information, please visit https://www.npws.ie/licences/possession/keep-injured-or-disabled-protected-wild-animal-or-bird.
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 (www.npws.ie) 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 www.irishwildlifematters.ie