Mooney Goes Wild, Sunday October 23rd 2016

Derek Mooney and crew filming the TV documentary 'Back From The Brink’, in the Netherlands. It will be broadcast as part of RTÉs Climate Change Week this coming Autumn - more details coming soon!

Behind the scenes filming 'Back To The Brink' in the Netherlands

Behind the scenes filming 'Back To The Brink' in the Netherlands; left: Derek and the crew of 'Back From The Brink', which will be broadcast on RTÉ television this November; right: Jacques Van Der Neut, a wildlife ranger with the state forest service in the Netherlands.  Jacques was part of the team of scientists responsible for reintroducing the Beaver to the Netherlands

On Mooney Goes Wild tonight...

On Mooney Goes Wild tonight...

We hear about the left-leaning snail that's looking for love - and how YOU can help!

As the Mayo Dark Sky Festival draws closer, what can we do in our cities to limit light pollution and enjoy the experience too? 

We find out how running wild with nature can help children learn more effectively, outside of the confines of the classroom!

And Dr. Simon Berrow explains why the documentary The Humpback Whales of Cape Verde provides such a fascinating insight into the migration patterns of one of the world’s most endangered species...

Looking For Love For A Leftie Snail

A one-in-a-million snail has been making headlines across the globe this week, due to its inability to mate.  Nicknamed Jeremy, this left-leaning brown garden snail might look the same as any other, but closer inspection of the snail’s shell reveals exactly why this creature is so special.

Jeremy the Lefty Snail (pictured right); photo: University Of Nottingham

Usually, the shell of a snail spirals in a right-handed, clockwise direction.  Jeremy, on the other hand, has a left-handed, anti-clockwise spiralling shell.  The ‘lefty’ snail is a mirror image of its other shell-dwelling friends - and this makes it impossible for it to mate with its more common counterparts.  Now scientists at The University of Nottingham hoping to study the genetics of this ultra-rare garden snail are asking for YOUR help in finding the lonely mollusc a mate!  Professor Angus Davison is an Associate Professor and Reader in Evolutionary Genetics in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nottingham, and he joins Derek and Richard Collins from the BBC Studios in London to explain just how rare this snail is - and how you can help this lonely snail find love!

For more information on this story, and to view a video of Professor Davison showing the difference between left and right-leaning snails, visit  For more information on Prof Davison, visit or  And if you come across a left-handed spiralling snail, please DO NOT send it in to us, but instead take a photo and e-mail it to, or tweet @naturerte (using the hashtag #leftysnail) or send us a pic via Facebook -

Mayo Dark Sky Festival

Star gazing is simply spectacular right now as the long, dark nights draw in.  Orion, Polaris, the North Star, the Plough - they’re just some that you might see if you step out into your garden or look up through a skylight and peer into the darkness.  To experience the clearest starlit skies, Co. Kerry and Co. Mayo are the places to be, as they have both received official designation as dark sky reserves. 

Artificial lighting is creating light pollution over urban areas, particularly in Dublin, Belfast and Cork and all along the east coast generally.  From next Friday, October 28th through until Sunday, October 30th, the Mayo Dark Sky Festival will be taking place in Ballycroy National Park and Wild Nephin Wilderness.  To tell us more, Sue Callaghan, District Conservation Officer with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, joins us from our Westport studio to talk about the Festival, artificial lighting in Ireland and the impact that this is having on our wildlife...

For more information about the Mayo Dark Sky Festival, visit or click here for their Facebook page.

Learning Through Nature

Remember running wild through the fields, fishing in rock pools, climbing trees and building secret dens when you were young?  Unfortunately, generations of children are missing out on these priceless experiences and don’t have the chance to gather memories of nature and the great outdoors as many of us did in the past.  A growing number of studies show the positive effects of spending time in the open air, and this is especially true when it comes to children.  Learning outdoors contributes to healthy development and enhanced understanding - but so much education still takes place between four walls.  The Lifelong Learning through Nature educational project aims to reverse that trend.  It’s been developed and trialled in Malta for the past two years, and the time has now come for it to be launched in Poland and here in Ireland.  Earlier this week, a landmark transnational meeting of the partner organisations took place in Dublin Zoo.  Niall Hatch, Development Officer with BirdWatch Ireland was there, and he tells us all about it this evening...

Some of those attending the Lifelong Learning meeting in Dublin, including Niall Hatch (second from left); also pictured are European Dawn Chorus contributors Jason Aloisio of Malta (far left of photo) and Jarek Krogulec of Poland (far right of photo)

For more information about the Lifelong Learning through Nature project, visit

Humpback Whales Of Cape Verde

Along our breathtakingly beautiful coastline, there’s a whole world of marine wildlife just waiting to be discovered: from seals and porpoises, to dolphins and, if you’re really lucky, whales.  In fact, Ireland is now a whale watching hotspot, with numbers increasing each year and knowing more about the migratory patterns of these magnificent mammals is vital in order to protect them.  That’s why we’ll see, in a film being televised next Saturday on TG4, a team of marine scientists embarking on an ambitious adventure of some 5,000km to the Cape Verde archipelago off the west coast of Africa...

Shot in Ireland, Cape Verde and Malta, The Humpback Whales Of Cape Verde follows Dr. Simon Berrow and an international team of marine scientists on an ambitious adventure to prove humpback whales from both the northern and southern hemispheres use the Cape Verde archipelago as a breeding ground.

The film was made by Canola Pictures in association with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG).  Dr Simon Berrow, Chief Science Officer of the IWDG, was the leader of this fascinating expedition, and he joins us now to explain how important it is to understand where our humpback whales travel from...

The Humpback Whales Of Cape Verde, narrated by Liam O Maonlai, will broadcast on TG4 next Saturday, October 29th at 19:15 on TG4.  For more information, visit  And if you're interested in this, you may also be interested in another television programme featuring Dr. Berrow, called Ireland's Oceans - this can be seen next Wednesday, October 26th, at 19:30 on RTÉ 2.  For information on all wildlife and natural history programmes broadcast on RTÉ and TG4, visit

Second Chance Sundays

Have another chance to hear some of our Mooney Goes Wild programmes uncovered from the RTÉ Radio 1 archive. Click the links below for more information. 

The Dance of the Cuckoos - Mooney Goes Wild Special 

The Blue Whale - Mooney Goes Wild Special

Feathers - Mooney Goes Wild Special

Bergen Whale - Mooney Goes Wild Special

Sparrows  - Mooney Goes Wild Special 

Wildlife Film Makers - Mooney Goes Wild Special 

The Common Swift - Mooney Goes Wild Special 

E-mail:        Facebook:          Twitter: @NatureRTE



Statement from BirdWatch Ireland, Thurs Feb 28th 2019:

BirdWatch Ireland wishes to remind the public, local authorities and contractors that hedge-cutting is NOT permitted between 1st March and 31st August inclusive, except in the case of any of the derogations permitted under the Wildlife Act 1976, as amended. The Heritage Act 2018 gives the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the power to make certain changes to these dates, but it is important to note that, as yet, the Minister has not done so. As a result, the usual dates when hedge-cutting is prohibited currently remain unchanged.

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.  To read the Heritage Bill 2016, as passed by Dáil Éireann on July 5th 2018, click here.  To read the Heritage Act 2018, click here.

To contact your local wildlife ranger, click here for contact details. To read the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000, click here.

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.


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

Music Played on the Show

Snail’S Pace – A Funny Kid's Song

Snail’S Pace – A Funny Kid's Song

Bob Brown




Don Mclean




Contact the Show



Twitter: @NatureRTE

Presenter: Derek Mooney

Series Producer: Ana Leddy


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