Mooney Goes Wild, Sunday March 25th 2018

Philip McCabe, RIP (20/10/18)

Everyone on Mooney Goes Wild is devastated to learn of the death of our friend and colleague, Philip McCabe.  Philip did more for our understanding of the honey bee than a life time of learning could ever have taught us.  Kind, thoughtful and generous, he was a true gentleman, and his knowledge, quick wit, and wonderful ability to entertain us with his storytelling meant that he was a pleasure to be around.  He will be very much missed.  Our deepest sympathies to his wife Mary and family, and all who had the pleasure to know or meet him.

In January 2017, Derek made a documentary called The Beeman, which profiled Philip McCabe, his fascinating life and work.  To find out more and to listen to the documentary, click here.



Twitter: @NatureRTE

On Mooney Goes Wild tonight...

On Mooney Goes Wild tonight...

BirdWatch Ireland is the first EVER Irish finalist in the prestigious Natura 2000 Awards – and they need YOUR vote!  Niall Hatch tells us more about their nomination for the remarkable Roseate Tern project.  As the country’s Lepus Timidus Hibernicus population continues to decline, Terry Flanagan goes in search of the Mad March Hare.  Eanna ni Lamhna learns how the evolution of wildlife in cities is happening more quickly and strangely than Darwin could ever have dreamed.  And sad news this week as Sudan, the last Male Northern White Rhino, dies, we ask - what hope now for the species?

Mooney Goes Wild - Programme Podcast 25/03/18

On MGW tonight: Roseate Tern Project Nominated For Natura Award; Mad As A March Hare!; Darwin Comes To Town: How The Urban Jungle Drives Evolution; Death Of Sudan, Last Male Northern White Rhino...

Roseate Tern Project Nominated For Natura Award

BirdWatch Ireland's Roseate Tern conservation project has been running on tiny Rockabill Island, off the coast of Skerries in north Co. Dublin, for 29 years.  Thanks to that hard work, Rockabill now hosts the largest Roseate Tern colony in Europe, with over 1,600 pairs.  The dedication of BirdWatch Ireland staff and volunteers has brought the species back from the brink of extinction as a European breeding bird.

The project has made it through to the final of the prestigious Natura 2000 Awards - something no other Irish initiative has ever achieved.  Niall Hatch, Development Officer with BirdWatch Ireland met Derek at the BWI East Coast Nature Reserve in Wicklow to explain more...

To cast your vote for the Rockabill Tern project to win the EU Citizens' Award, visit

The last time that Derek visited Niall at the BWI East Coast Nature Reserve, it was to view the visiting Glossy Ibis birds - and those birds were still there this week!

Press Release From BirdWatch Ireland

Roseate Tern conservation project on Dublin island nominated for major EU environmental prize: public urged to vote

An exciting Irish project to conserve the Roseate Tern, one of Europe’s rarest and most beautiful seabirds, led by BirdWatch Ireland and supported by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Commissioners of Irish Lights, has reached the final of the European Union’s prestigious Natura 2000 award competition.

The Irish Roseate Tern Conservation Project, based on tiny Rockabill Island off the coast of north Co. Dublin, is the only Irish nominee amongst the 25 finalists.  A jury of experts will evaluate the projects and decide who will be the winner in five of the award categories: the winner of the sixth will be decided by public vote.

BirdWatch Ireland is now urging the Irish public to show its support by voting for the Rockabill project to win the "EU Citizens’ Award".  The award will go to the finalist that receives the highest number of public votes.

This is the first time that a project from Ireland has reached the final.  For almost 30 years, the Roseate Tern Conservation Project, led by BirdWatch Ireland, in partnership with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, has operated on Rockabill, a small island off the Coast of Dublin, which supports almost half of the European population of the beautiful and rare Roseate Tern.  Through continuous wardening, managing the breeding habitat and providing secure nest boxes for breeding, the best possible conditions for successful nesting are created.  Ongoing research is also a key part of the work, examining feeding regimes and chick growth rates.  The result has been a remarkable increase in the Roseate Tern population, from just 152 pairs in 1989 to 1,603 pairs in 2017.

Dr. Stephen Newton, Senior Seabird Conservation Officer with BirdWatch Ireland, stated: "BirdWatch Ireland is extremely proud of the success of the Roseate Tern conservation project and is thrilled to have reached the final of the prestigious Natura 2000 award.  Rockabill Island is now the most important source for these gorgeous birds in Europe and is now playing a major role in naturally restocking other colonies in Britain and France. We would be delighted if people all across Ireland would show their support for nature by voting for us to win the prestigious EU Citizens’ Award".

The Natura 2000 award recognises excellence in the management of these sites and pays tribute to all who are working tirelessly to protect Europe’s most precious wildlife.  There are five categories, including Conservation and Socio-Economic benefits, plus a sixth special award, the European Citizens Award, which is open to public vote.  This category helps raise awareness about Natura 2000 and every year it becomes more popular.  Last year, the Citizens Award was won by a project to save the Iberian Lynx, which attracted 6,000 public votes.

Voting closes on 22nd April – please register your support for the project through the EU Citizens' award page or through the BirdWatch Ireland website:

Mad As A March Hare!

A few weeks ago we featured a story about the abundance of hares at Dublin Airport and how they’re being trans-located to more appropriate habitats.  But whilst their population might be thriving round the runways, their numbers elsewhere in the country are dwindling - so we thought we should take a closer look at Ireland’s oldest mammal - which dates back 28,000 years.

Photo: Karina Dingerkus

And what better time to do it - as we are (after all) in the month of the "Mad March Hare"!  That expression derives from the odd behaviour displayed by male hares during their breeding season, when they box each other, jump vertically for seemingly no reason and generally display abnormal behaviour – a wonderful sight to behold if you’ve ever been lucky enough to encounter it.

Mooney Goes Wild reporter Terry Flanagan travelled to Co. Mayo in the hopes of doing just that, and early last Sunday morning, he met up with Dr. Karina Dingerkus an Ecologist and co-founder of the ecological consultancy Giorria Environmental Services, who wrote her PhD on 'The ecology and distribution of the Irish hare'...

To read Karina's blog, complete with stunning photographs, visit

Darwin Comes To Town: How The Urban Jungle Drives Evolution

Now you may remember a couple of weeks ago we spoke about how peregrine falcons are increasingly moving into Irish towns and cities.  In fact in 2015 a pair of endangered peregrine falcons nesting on the Poolbeg chimneys in Dublin successfully hatched two chicks.  It’s believed now that as larger portions of the world’s landmass become urbanised, animals are becoming increasingly resourceful – carving out new niches for themselves amongst the asphalt and steel.  In Sendai in Japan, carrion crows have learnt to crack open their favourite nuts by dropping them carefully under the wheels of moving cars.  In Mexico City sparrows and finches appear to understand that nicotine acts as an insecticide, and line their nests with cigarette butts to keep mites at bay - whilst in Puerto Rico, city lizards are evolving feet that better grip urban surfaces like concrete.

Charles Darwin’s visit to the Galapagos Islands in 1835 helped him to develop his theory of natural selection and led to his investigation of evolutionary change, which he published in his famous book On The Origin Of Species.  It drastically and controversially altered the scientific view on the biological origins of life.  Now a new book, Darwin Comes To Town: How The Urban Jungle Drives Evolution, examines how animals are adapting in the most extraordinary and innovative ways.

Left: Eanna ni Lamhna; right: Menno Schilthuizen (photo: @schilthuizen)

Eanna ni Lamhna recently spoke to its author, Menno Schilthuizen, to find out more about how evolution in cities is happening far more rapidly – and strangely – than Darwin could ever have imagined...

Darwin Comes To Town: How The Urban Jungle Drives Evolution, by Menno Schilthuizen, is published by Quercus; the RRP is £14.99 and the ISBN is 9781786481092.  For more information about the book, click here.

Death Of Sudan, Last Male Northern White Rhino

You’ll no doubt have heard the sad news this week that Sudan, the world's last surviving male northern white rhino, has died:

45 year old Sudan lived at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya - and was reluctantly put to sleep by vets there on Monday after painful, age-related health issues.  His death leaves only two females of the subspecies alive in the world now - his daughter and his granddaughter.

Rhinoceroses - of which there are five species - are the second-largest land mammal after elephants.  The white rhinoceros consists of two sub-species: the southern white rhino and the much rarer and critically endangered northern white rhino.  Hope for preserving the northern white rhino now lies in developing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques with the use of semen and eggs, which have been stored for future use.

Left: Dr. Richard Collins; centre: Sudan the Rhino; right: Jan Stejskal

Jan Stejskal is an official at Dvur Kralové Zoo in the Czech Republic, where Sudan had lived until 2009 - he's currently in Kenya, and joins us on the line this evening...

To read an interview with Jan about Sudan, click here.


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

Oceanus: Ocean Journey

Oceanus: Ocean Journey

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Presenter: Derek Mooney


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