Mooney Goes Wild, Sunday September 25th 2016


The prestigious annual Rose D'Or Awards (now in their 55th year) honour the very best of international radio, TV and online entertainment programmes, and the awards ceremony took place last night (Tuesday, September 13th 2016).  Over 400 programmes from more than 130 broadcasters and production companies in 33 different countries were submitted for this year’s Rose d’Or awards.  For the first time, a new competition category, 'Radio Event Of The Year' was created.  We entered European Dawn Chorus in this category, and we're absolutely delighted to let you know drumroll... WE WON!!! We're absolutely thrilled to pieces, and a massive thanks to all our EBU and BirdLife International partners, we couldn't have done it without you!  Click here to read more about the 2016 Rose D'Or awards (in which legendary funnyman John Cleese picked up the Lifetime Achievement award), and click here to relive - and re-listen to - all the beautiful Dawn Chorus birdsong from right across Europe.

***To visit The Mooney Show website, click here!***


Twitter: @naturerte

On Mooney Goes Wild tonight...

On Mooney Goes Wild tonight...

The state of the nation's health has been very much in the news this week, with recommendations including an increase in levels of physical activity.  But what about our beastly brethren?  Do animals exercise for fitness?  Richard Collins talks to eco-physiologist Dr. Lewis Halsey to find out what his studies have revealed.  We hear about the cameras that are charting the life and times of the Kittiwake, from the Skellig Islands off the coast of County Kerry to the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.  And we take a look at some "ecosystem engineers" – otherwise known as Earthworms – and check up on the health of their numbers here.  

Mooney Goes Wild - Programme Podcast 26/09/16

On MGW tonight: Do Animals Exercise For Fitness?; Tracking Kittiwakes; Europe's Earthworms

Do Animals Exercise For Fitness?

Do Animals Exercise For Fitness?

We all know how important it is to keep in good physical shape, how having a wholesome diet and regular work-outs benefits our general well-being - and how healthy living can prevent all sorts of illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

An international industry worth billions has literally exploded across the world covering just about everything from sports drinks, to sports wear to sports equipment - and it’s estimated that about 48 million of us have gym memberships.  

But if it’s important for humans to keep fit – what of animals?  An eco-physiologist from Roehampton University is among the first to examine whether our behaviour extends to other animals.  Dr. Richard Collins recently spoke to Dr. Lewis Halsey, Reader in Comparative and Environmental Physiology in the Department of Life Sciences at Roehampton University, to learn more about his studies...

To read Dr. Halsey's paper Do Animals Exercise To Keep Fit? visit

Tracking Kittiwakes

Kittiwakes spend practically their entire life at sea.  They make their nests on the steep cliffs of Ireland, England, Scotland and Scandinavia – and occasionally on drilling platforms in Dutch territory!  Dr. Mark Jessop is a Research Fellow at the MARE Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy at University College Cork.  He’s currently leading a project looking at the interactions between predators such as seabirds and marine mammals, and renewable energy devices.  Professor John O’Halloran joined Dr Jessop on the west side of Cork Harbour to find out more...

Left: Dr. Mark Jessop (l) with Professor John O'Halloran (r); Right: Kittiwake (Photo by Laura Glenister / BirdWatch Ireland)

Europe's Earthworms

Soil, considered a "forgotten resource", is home to more than a quarter of our planet's biodiversity – which includes the Earthworm.  Despite the abundance of earthworms in soils all around the world, there is a lack of information concerning the geographical distribution of many of these species.

Now, researchers from across Europe have collected information on earthworm communities to map the biodiversity of these invertebrates and to put soil conservation on the political agenda.  The study, published in the journal Applied Soil Ecology, involved scientists from eight different countries, including Ireland – and has created the first large-scale European map of earthworm abundance and diversity.

Olaf Schmidt, Associate Professor in the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, was our man on the job.  Eanna ni Lamhna joined him beside the hidden lake on the university’s Woodland Walk...

To find out more about this story, click here, and to read the paper Mapping earthworm communities in Europe, visit  And if you'd like to identify different types of earthworm, click here.

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



Contact the Show

RTÉ is not responsible for the content of external websites

Presenter: Derek Mooney


Ways to Listen

Radio Player