Mooney Goes Wild, Sunday October 15th 2017

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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!

On Mooney Goes Wild tonight...

On Mooney Goes Wild tonight...

Philip McCabe, Mooney Goes Wild's resident bee expert and President of Apimondia, joins Derek and Dr. Richard Collins in studio to chat about the recent Apimondia conference in Turkey that was attended by almost 13,000 people from 127 countries! Sailing instructor Kerri-Ann Boylan tells Derek about the shark she filmed swimming in Skerries during the week, as shark expert Lucy Hunt gives us her view on the sighting.  LIT student Jack Hassett explains why his DNA research has proved conclusively that the Irish Honey Bee is NOT extinct, and Sarah Martin tells us about a programme in Manchester called Connected Bees, which provides bees with backpacks to collect data as well as pollen!

Our panel tonight: left - Dr. Richard Collins (l) in discussion with Philip McCabe (r); right - the debate continues outside the studio!

Apimondia 2017

Philip McCabe is Mooney Goes Wild's long-standing bee expert - our very own Beeman!  (Click here to listen back to our documentary all about Philip).  But he also has a day job - as President of Apimondia, representing a massive 28 million beekeepers globally.  Apimondia is the International Federation of Beekeepers' Associations, an organisation which promotes scientific, ecological, social and economic apicultural development in all countries.  The 45th APIMONDIA International Apicultural Congress has just concluded in Istanbul, an event which was attended by almost 13,000 delegates from 127 countries.  One of those returning beekeepers is President Philip McCabe, and fresh from his travels, he joins Derek and Richard in studio with tales from Turkey...

For more information about the Apimondia conference, visit

The Skerries Shark

The unmistakable theme music to the movie JAWS immediately conjures up images of one of the planet’s most dangerous and deadly sea creatures – the shark!  But sharks are also one of the most misunderstood species on earth.

Last weekend, Skerries Sailing Club instructor Kerri-Ann Boylan was guiding a class of young north County Dublin sailors to shore after an afternoon on the water, when they were startled, and more than a little excited, by the sight of a shark gliding through the shallow waters in Skerries!  Derek went to meet Kerri-Ann in Skerries to learn more about this unusual encounter...

Marine biologist Lucy Hunt is founder and managing director of Sea Synergy Marine Awareness Centre in Waterville, Co. Kerry, and Education Officer with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.  She joins us on the line from Alicante in Spain, where she is working with the Volvo Ocean Race as their sustainability education manager, to give us her view on the basking shark in Kerri-Ann's video...


DNA Research Proves Native Irish Honey Bee Not Extinct

One out of every three bites of food we eat is a result of pollinators like honey bees – in fact they’re so important that in some parts of the world, farmers have bee hives transported onto their farms to provide pollination for their crops.  So needless to say news that the native Irish honey bee is not extinct after all has been greeted with great enthusiasm!

Jack Hassett is an Applied Science postgraduate at the Limerick Institute of Technology.  He carried out DNA analysis on the pure native Irish honey bee, Apis mellifera mellifera, as part of his PhD on the "Genetic Analysis Of The Native Irish Honey Bee", and he joins us from RTÉ's Limerick studios to tell us more about the remarkable findings that emerged from his research...

For more information, visit

Manchester's Backpacker Bees

Whilst the Irish Honeybee is celebrating its rebirth, scientists in the UK are putting their cousins online to aid their survival.  Threatened bee species are being given what are described as tiny backpacks – micro radio transmitters - which will enable their behaviour, pollination and movement to be tracked.  Hives are being retro-fitted with electronic panels, and each time the tagged bees enter and exit the hive, that data is recorded.  The symbol of Manchester is the bee, so it's appropriate that it's in this great Northern city that the Connected Bees programme was launched in England.  The project is being spear-headed by IT giant Cisco, and Manchester Science Partnerships.  Sarah Martin, who is originally from Newry, is Project Manager of the Connected Bees programme in Manchester; she joins us from the studios of BBC Salford to tell us all about it...

For more information about the Connected Bees programme, visit

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


***Download the Dawn Chorus 2017 podcasts***

Dawn Chorus 2017 - First Hour - 00:00 - 01:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Second Hour - 01:00 - 02:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Third Hour - 02:00 - 03:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Fourth Hour - 03:00 - 04:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Fifth Hour - 04:00 - 05:00

Dawn Chorus 2017 - Sixth Hour - 05:00 - 06:00



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Presenter: Derek Mooney


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