Mooney Goes Wild, Sunday February 25th 2018

Second Chance Sundays

Over the coming weeks, we'll be giving you another chance to hear some of our Mooney Goes Wild programmes uncovered from the radio archive here in RTÉ. Please tune into RTÉ Radio 1 Sunday nights at 6pm. Click the links below for more information. 

24th March 2019, (6pm), The Dance of the Cuckoos - Mooney Goes Wild Special 

31st March 2019, (6pm), The Blue Whale - Mooney Goes Wild Special

07th April 2019, (6pm), Feathers - Mooney Goes Wild Special

14th April 2019, (6pm), Bergen Whale - Mooney Goes Wild Special

21st April 2019, (6pm), Sparrows  - Mooney Goes Wild Special 

28th April 2019, (6pm), Wildlife Film Makers - Mooney Goes Wild Special 

05th May 2019, (6pm), The Wren (More Detail Soon) - Mooney Goes Wild Special 

Dawn Chorus 2019

The 24th Dawn Chorus will take place on Sunday, May 5th 2019 

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On Mooney Goes Wild tonight... SPECIAL: Plastics #1

The Plastic Revolution starts here on Mooney Goes Wild!  In a week where, it would seem, the world has woken up to an environmental crisis brought about by our utter dependence on single use plastic, we ask the question – where do we go from here?

This isn’t the first time we’ve discussed the true scale of plastic pollution on Mooney Goes Wild.  We were one of the earliest voices in the mounting campaign to reduce plastic waste and find alternatives, highlighting how just through our daily activities, from using washing machines to buying coffees-to-go, incalculable amounts of plastic are entering oceans, eventually ending up inside our fish and marine mammals.   

If we take a look at the past fifty years, global plastic production has increased 20-fold from 15 million tonnes to 311 million tonnes, contributing significantly to waste levels and transforming us into a plastic polluted planet.

Just last month, we brought you the tragic story of the Cuvier’s Beaked Whale, recovered from the waters off Bergen in Norway, who had died from ingesting plastic bags, mistaking them for food and completely blocking its digestive system.  Click here to listen back to The Bergen Whale.

Left: a Cuvier's Beaked Whale; right: Dr. Richard Collins (l) with Prof. Terje Lislevand (r) at the University Museum of Bergen

And it’s not just whales, dolphins and turtles which are suffering such devastating effects.  Fish are swallowing micro plastics, which are fragments of larger plastic items or those found in beauty products such as facial scrubs.  Last October, we met Dr. Anne Marie Mahon, from the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, who talked to us about her research into micro plastics in our environment (click here to find out more and listen back to that interview).

Anne Marie Mahon and Dr. Richard Collins

But if there was ever a true watershed moment in our awareness of just how serious an issue plastic has become, then it came last Monday and once again it was from Galway, when an NUIG study found that a huge 73% of deep-sea fish have ingested plastic.  For more information on this story, visit   To read the research article 'Frequency of Microplastics in Mesopelagic Fishes from the Northwest Atlantic', which was published in Frontiers In Marine Science, click here.

The deep water fish which were studied are also prey for fish destined for human consumption, and the one question everyone is now asking is: could micro plastics and toxins be transferred, and pose a threat to our own human health?

To discuss the scale of the plastic problem, it's implications, and the solutions, we're joined in studio by zoologist Dr. Richard Collins, marine scientist Dr. Ken Whelan, Professor Kevin O’Connor (Associate Professor of the School of Biomolecular and Biomed Science at UCD), and from our Cork studios by Dr. Tom  Doyle who, with Alina Wieczorek, co-authored the study into micro plastics in fish at the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway...

Top: from left - Derek Mooney, Dr. Richard Collins & Dr. Ken Whelan
Bottom: from left - Prof. Kevin O'Connor, Dr. Tom Doyle & Oliver Tickell

Our guests tonight include:

Professor Kevin O'Connor

Prof. Kevin O’Connor is director of the Beacon Research Centre and Associate Professor at the School of Biomolecular and Biomed at UCD.  He believes in the potential for bio-based plastics to replace petrochemical plastics and acts as an advisor on the ‘Bio-economy’ to the Taoiseach’s office.  For more information on the European Bio-Economy Strategy, click here.

Dr. Tom Doyle

There are few more startling and worrying findings than that shown by NUI Galway this week.  They found that 73% of deep water fish have eaten plastics.  Their study, conducted in the northwest Atlantic, recorded one of the highest percentages of plastic yet found in fish on the planet, and was reported widely across the world.  
That danger is not only confined to the creature that eats the litter, as the food chain can transfer this plastic back to us.  Dr Tom Doyle, from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, is co-author of the study and joins us to tell us more about the recent findings... 

Oliver Tickell

The day after that NUIG research was published, revealing one of the highest frequencies of plastic found in fish anywhere – ever - a new report was presented at London’s Royal Geographical Society.  The Ocean Plastic Crisis Summit, which was organised by the group Artists Project Earth, featured talks from scientists, business people, politicians, and campaigners, with the aim of putting together an Action Manifesto.

Oliver Tickell is an environmental journalist, and he presented a report which highlighted that there are already multiple laws and agreements in place to tackle pollution in our oceans – but that enforcement is the problem.  So last Tuesday, Derek went along to the Summit to find out more...

To read Oliver Tickell's report 'International Law and Marine Plastic Pollution - Holding Offenders Accountable', click here.


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



Contact the Show

Presenter: Derek Mooney

Series Producer: Ana Leddy


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