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Friday, October 12th 2012

On today's Mooney Goes Wild, with Aonghus McAnally,

The Mountain Gorilla, the Giant Panda and the Siberian Tiger are all in danger of extinction - we find out how much money would need to be spent to save all threatened species. Ken Whelan tells us why so little is known about the distribution and survival of salmon once they leave their home rivers and enter the Atlantic Ocean, and we find out about the “Accelerating Science” exhibition taking place in Salthill.

Pelagic Salmon

Pelagic fish are those who swim near the surface of the sea - like mackerel and herring. When you think of salmon you might think about them leaping up a river, against the flow, to spawn at the place where they once hatched. And, indeed, we’re getting close to the time of year to see that beautiful phenomenon happen. December and January are the prime months.

Chinook Salmon
Chinook Salmon

But, to get to the rivers they must come from the sea – and much less is known about salmon at sea than salmon in rivers. Professor Ken Whelan, who is Director of Research of the Atlantic Salmon Trust, is keen to know more - he comes into studio to tell us why today... To find out more about salmon at sea, click here. Ken also talks about his forthcoming visit to China, where he will be finding out more about aquaculture and fish farming...

US$80 billion a year to stop extinction

It’s rare enough for world governments to agree on anything, but when the shared issues ensure the survival of our threatened species or protection of our environment – the stakes are high. Two years ago, environment ministers from almost 200 nations met in Japan and committed to a set of 20 targets aiming to stem the continuing loss of life on earth and the destruction of biodiversity.

The Giant Panda is in danger of extinction
The Giant Panda is in danger of extinction

It was hoped that by 2020 we would have halted over-fishing, controlled invasive species, reduced pollution and taken pressure off the coral reefs to name but a few of the goals.

So far – so good...but two years later these governments have not managed to talk money. It seemed many of the richer countries came with empty pockets, and no clear guidelines on financing were agreed. That’s where BirdLife International comes in. Not willing to let anyone off the hook they have published a study presenting the hard figures on what needs to be spent if genuine progress is to be made. To explain more, Aonghus is joined by Birdlife International’s Global Research Co-ordinator Stuart Butchart.


This week, Mooney Goes Wild reporter Terry Flanagan went searching for mushrooms with Debbie Nelson, Chairperson of the Northern Ireland Fungus Group. The International Mushroom Festival takes place in Killegar, Co. Leitrim, this weekend, Saturday October 13th and Sunday October 14th. For further information, visit www.internationalmushroomfestival.com.

CERN "Accelerating Science" Exhibition

We’ve talked about the Large Hadron Collider on this programme before, but don’t worry we’re not going to bamboozle you with talk of sub- atomic particles and Quarks! The Large Hadron Collider is part of CERN’s work in what is a very large laboratory in Geneva and that renowned body of scientists (CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear research) is behind a very interesting exhibition taking place in Salthill, Galway at the moment. It’s called “Accelerating Science” and it runs for another three weeks. Ronan Rochford is a Phd student in Astro Physics at NUI Galway, and is a Facilitated Guide who provides tours to the public and school students who visit the exhibition - he tells Aonghus what they will find there... The exhibition runs until November 2nd; entry from Monday to Friday is solely for Secondary School Students, with General Admision on Saturday and Sunday (with the exception of the Mid-Term Break, October 29th-November 2nd, which will be General Admission). For more information, click here.

Placentophagia (Eating Placenta)

We spoke during the week to an English woman, Kirsty Martell, who had updated Facebook throughout the birth of her baby son. Many of you thought it was exhibitionist behaviour and the conversation turned to tales of giving birth – and placentas came up in the discussion, specifically eating placentas. And we promised we would return to the topic on today’s Mooney Goes Wild....

Placentophagia is the act of mammals eating the placenta of their young after childbirth. Most mammals do it, except marine mammals whose primary concern is to get the pup to the surface after childbirth so it doesn’t drown.

But why do they do it? Well the reasons have only come to light in recent years and Mary Kingston has been finding out more about it. She first spoke to Jim Stephens, Animal Behaviourist and counsellor at The Pet Behaviour Centre about why mammals eat placentas... Mary also called into Oliver McCabe of Select Stores Healthfood who is also a Nutritionist with Irish Parent Magazine. Oliver has several placenta recipes and says the placenta is the ultimate “superfood”...

App Article: Bats (by Eanna ni Lamhna)

Looking at all the Hallowe'en stuff in the shops, I wonder how all this mish–mash of cultures came to be so mixed up. A Celtic festival of the dead is mixed with a native American harvest festival and the results beggar belief. At least they do if you are a scientist. We are meant to believe that scary things will be out and about on Hallowe'en - chief among them being bats. Well actually bats will all be fast asleep in hibernation by then. In fact the one thing that you definitely won’t see on Hallowe'en night is a bat. I am going to spoil a good story with the facts.

You won't see many of these on Hallowe'en!

To find out more, download the Mooney app, for iPhone and Android phones, to read the rest of Eanna's article, and much more!

Lipdub For Big Music Week!

Next Monday, October 15th, sees the start of RTÉ's Big Music Week, Ireland's biggest, most varied, most accessible music festival! To celebrate and launch the event, a Libdub was filmed in the grounds of RTÉ - a spectacular, one-take video with groups and stars lip-syncing to Brewing Up A Storm - click below to be amazed!


The Island Landscape

RTÉ Television, in association with Mooney, is currently producing a major new documentary series on the history of the Irish landscape. The series will tell the story of how our landscape was created after the last major climatic event – the end of the last Ice Age, over ten thousand years ago.  And we want your help! Would you like to contribute video towards the TV series? Click here to find out what we're looking for!

Today's Podcasts

Pelagic Salmon
US$80 Billion A Year To Stop Extinction
International Mushroom Festival Takes Place In Leitrim This Weekend
CERN "Accelerating Science" Exhibition
App Article: Bats (by Eanna ni Lamhna)

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