Mooney, Friday October 18th 2013

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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!



Derek Mooney with his unique mix of conversation, information, advice and entertainment

On Mooney Goes Wild today...

Is genetic modification the solution to the world food crisis, or is it the greatest scientific folly of recent decades? We take a close look at this highly contentious issue.

Pike - a fish much loved by Irish anglers, but always thought of as a foreign import. Now, research suggests pike colonised IRELAND about 8000 years ago!

And how good, or bad, are YOU at naming the animal and plant species native to Ireland? We examine the growing phenomenon of "nature deficit disorder".

The Ocean's Shifting Baseline

The Ocean's Shifting Baseline

It's Friday, and many of you will be eating fish for your tea tonight. We are told it’s a "superfood", rich in protein and Omega 3, a food that’s good for the brain and your health in general.

In fact, according to the United Nations, more than one-third of people worldwide depend on seafood for 20% their animal protein. But unfortunately, the same organisation reports that up to 75% of our oceans are overfished!

It’s generally accepted that since large scale industrial fishing began, back in the 1950’s, fish stocks in the world's oceans have declined dramatically. And now, at the beginning of the 21st century, we are facing some big questions: What can we do about overfishing? And how can we restore world fish stocks?

Daniel Pauly is the principal investigator at the Sea Around Us Project, which studies the impact of the world's fisheries on marine ecosystems. He’s based at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

But today, he’s in Ireland for the annual conference of the Pew Fellows, which is taking place in Malahide at the moment. At this conference, 100 of the world's leading marine scientists have gathered to discuss the state of the world's oceans.  He joins us in studio to explain the state of the seas & fish stocks...

60 Years Of DNA

60 Years Of DNA

There are a few timelines in history that have transformed how we understand the world, and the way in which we live in it - such as when, in 1687, Isaac Newton published a paper on universal gravitation and the three laws of motion. Or when, in 1905, Albert Einstein proposed his special theory of relativity.

Today, we talk about another of these milestone moments. It is now 60 years since Francis Crick and James Watson described the twisted ladder structure of the double helix of DNA in the scientific journal Nature.

This publication gave scientists the answer to a fundamental mystery about living organisms: how they hold genetic instructions and how they pass this from generation to generation. It is regarded as the moment when the modern era of biology began.

To tell us exactly how this science has shaped our world, we are joined in studio today by one of our leading authorities in the field of genetics: Professor David McConnell, from the Department of Genetics, at Trinity College Dublin.

Colour My World With Sunday World And Mooney!

This year, Mooney has again teamed up with the Sunday World newspaper once again for the COLOUR MY WORLD competition to win three family holidays from Sunway Holidays - that's one each week to Turkey, Lapland and Lanzarote!

Eddie Rowley is the Showbiz Editor of the Sunday World, and he joins Derek in studio today to reveal who this week's winner is!

Last Sunday’s Sunday World contained a special pull-out poster for under-13s to colour in and post back. It was a special ‘mountain cabin’ scene with deer and rabbits and cows. And the entries have been superb!  Thousands of entries were sent into the Sunday World offices in Dublin!

Eddie sorts through some of the entries from Week 1 of our Colour My World competition!

The prize for Week 1 is a fabulous one-week Sunway package holiday for two adults and two children to the 4-star Palmin Sunset Plaza Hotel in Kusadasi in Turkey. The prize is on a self-catering basis, and includes flights, transfers and accommodation. The holiday must be redeemed in May or June 2014 [as stated in the terms and conditions on the poster]. The competition was open to children aged 12 or younger, so under-13s effectively.

Exterior of the Sunset Plaza

Enjoy a dip in one of the pools!

Palmin Sunset Plaza is built in small separate blocks around the large swimming pool and enjoys a wonderful panoramic location directly overlooking the sea. The hotel is situated on an elevated site overlooking the sea with idyllic seascape views of the nearby Greek island of Samos and DilekNational Park. There is access to a sandy beach via a steep path or the well known Ladies Beach and Green Beach are both within walking distance less than 1 km away.

Bedroom at the Sunset Plaza

Swimming pool at the Sunset Plaza

So know you know what the prize is, it's time to announce the winner!

So this week, we say congratulations to ... Shannon Dwyer, age 11, from Kilmacow in Co. Kilkenny! 

As you will see she coloured the poster using markers (she used two shades of brown for the mountains) and decided to glue sticks onto the poster to 'colour in' the fence and the house. It took her a couple of days to colour the poster and her mum Nuala posted it for her.

Derek and Eddie with Shannon's winning Colour My World entry!

Shannon's winning Colour My World entry!

Well done Shannon!! Now if YOU would like to win a family holiday, and you’re twelve or under, why don’t you enter this Sunday’s colouring competition?!?!

Next week's poster has a Christmas theme... a Christmas tree and presents and Santa Claus. And the prize is a Sunway family holiday for two adults and two children to LAPLAND departing on December 12th or 16th! Your prize includes flights, accommodation, meals, thermal clothing, a husky sleigh ride, a reindeer sleigh ride, a snowmobile safari, a visit to elf school AND of course, a private visit with Santa.

Doesn’t that sound fantastic?! And all you have to do is buy the Sunday World, colour in the poster and post it back. Easy-peasy! And good luck!

And, as Eddie will tell you, you will be competing with thousands of other entries from around Ireland so be creative and make your entry stand out from the others!!

So buy the Sunday World and get colouring to win the prize!

The Ocean's Shifting Baseline

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


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