We tell you all about National Dawn Chorus Day 2014, and how you can join Mooney Goes Wild to help celebrate it! We examine the impact that antibiotics are having on the environment, National Geographic's Herpetologist talks about this weekend’s Snake-Handling Workshop in Dublin, and BirdWatch Ireland wants your help to keep track of migrating birds as they arrive into Ireland!
National Dawn Chorus Day will take part on Sunday, May 18th 2014. If you are part of a group who will be taking part in a Dawn Chorus event in your local area, and want to register your event with us, please send full details - name, contact number, what will be happening and where, to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line 'Dawn Chorus 2014'. And who knows, we may contact you during our Dawn Chorus broadcast!
Join Mooney in our Eurovision Green Room at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on Saturday, May 10th 2014. The party takes place in the Circle Club.
If you want to be there, all you have to do is tell us in not more than forty words why you and a friend or friends LOVE the Eurovision. All entrants/attendees must be over 18. If you are lucky enough to receive a golden invitation to our EUROVISION GREEN ROOM you will get to see all the action as it happens live from Copenhagen.
Tickets will be allocated to couples and groups of four people.
All attendees must make their own way to and from the venue.
There is no cash alternative to this prize.
Closing date for receipt of entries is April 25th 2014
Many centuries ago, there were all kinds of explanations as to what caused disease in humans. Maybe your humours were out of kilter, maybe you were possessed by demons - or worse still, by the devil himself!
The germ theory of disease really only emerged in the late 19th century. And the idea of an antibiotic, which might fight these germs, began to take hold.
The actual word "antibiotic" dates back to 1889, when a pupil of Louis Pasteur, called Paul Villeman, described the process where "life could be used to destroy life".
But in the timeline of antibiotics, the name Alexander Fleming stands out, when he observed in 1928 that colonies of the bacterium Staphy-lococcus aureus could be destroyed by the mold Penicillium notatum. And so, the first truly effective antibiotic came into widespread use...
To many people, this antibiotic, penicillin, was a miracle drug, and it spawned decades of research into antibiotics, giving us hugely (and some would say "artificially") elongated life-spans.
But in more recent years, many argue that the miracle is wearing thin. Antibiotics are so widespread these days, that we are developing resistance, the effects of these sophisticated antibiotics are wearing off. They're also passing through our bodies, and entering the environment, with unpredictable consequences for wildlife and nature.
Barry McMahon is a lecturer in Wildlife Conservation at UCD. He's been taking a look into this phenomenon, and he joins us in studio to let us know what he's uncovered...
Spring is in the air and the birds are singing in the trees. And soon, there will be a lot more of them! Birds are arriving for Summer from different parts of the world. It is important for BirdWatch Ireland to keep track of when they arrive.
But this is quite a difficult thing to do - so they need YOUR help! Niall Hatch is Development Officer with BirdWatch Ireland, and he joins us in studio to tell us how to report your sighting - and how those sightings can make a difference...
BirdWatch Ireland have organized a special prize for Mooney Goes Wild listeners. Spring Alive has been mentioned on the show around this time for the past few years, and it always gets a fantastic response from you, our listeners. So Niall thought that as an added bonus this year, we will run a competition for listeners who submit their observations to the website!
What is the prize?
For the winning listener, BirdWatch Ireland are offering a beginning birdwatching kit, which includes a pair of high quality Opticron binoculars, a range of books about Ireland’s birds, how to identify them, where to see them and how to attract them to your garden, and a year’s membership of BirdWatch Ireland (which includes our quarterly magazine).
For the winning school, the prize is a deluxe bird-feeding station and a supply of bird food and a year’s school membership of BirdWatch Ireland, which includes a talk to the students by one of our staff.
So how can Mooney Goes Wild listeners win the prize?
All you need to do is to mention Mooney or Mooney Goes Wild when you are submitting the simple data form that is on the website, and they will then choose winners at random at the end of the season in June. There will be one prize of schools and one for individuals.
James Hennessy is the Zoo Director of the Reptile Zoo in Gowran in Co Kilkenny and Gerry Martin is an Indian Herpetologist who works for National Geographic. He literally just flew into Dublin an hour ago and will be giving a 'Venomous Snake Handling Workshop' in the Reptile Zoo tomorrow! They join us in studio to chat about all things serpentine!
Zoo Ambassador Workshop
Teenagers aged 12 and over can sign up to be Zoo Ambassadors and raise money for the Zoo on their website (www.reptilevillage.net) or by post. They’ll then get an application form to fill out. There are four 'ranks' of Ambassador: Bronze is when you sign up and start organising your first fundraising event. You get a T-shirt and a goody bag. Silver is when you raise €600, then you get a year's membership to the Reptile Zoo and a school visit from James. Gold is when you raise €1000, you get to be 'a keeper for a day' and get a year’s membership. Platinum is when you raise €2500. This will pay for a trip to either India or Guatemala to do some field work. There may be an adult version of this Ambassador programme in future, subject to interest.
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