Episode 76: The True Green Alliance with Ron Thomson

Ron Thomson should be well known to anyone interested in wildlife management on the African continent. He started his career as a game ranger in 1959. Throughout his career, he has worked in Africa’s biggest and most prestigious game reserves. He has published fourteen books and we can safely say that he is one of the most experienced African big game hunters alive today.

Ron is also the CEO of The True Green Alliance whose vision is to create a global society that is properly informed about the principles and practices of wildlife management. During our conversation, we discuss the realities of wildlife management focusing particularly on elephant population management and current problems with it. These problems include overpopulation in some areas and a negative impact on the habitat and on other species of wildlife. 

We also talk about what an elephant cull operation looks like and finish with a few words about eating elephant meat.

Episode 75: Rewilding Ireland with David Smyth

This is yet another episode where my guest and I take on the subject of rewilding. This time our guest is the host of the discussion platform called Rewilding Ireland

During the podcast, we talk in length about various aspects of rewilding but we also talk about the future of the Rewilding Ireland platform. And towards the end of the podcast, we spend some time discussing whether or not megafauna should be a part of our rewilding efforts.

Episode 74: Marine Recreational Angling with Diarmuid Ryan

A few weeks ago Inland Fisheries Ireland distributed an online survey through social media, looking to gather information from all Irish sea anglers. The survey was part of a new programme called the Irish Marine Recreational Sea Angling Survey or IMREC for short. IMREC’s aim is to show how fishing activities relate to stock levels. The collected data can improve the management of fish stocks and hopefully preserve them for future generations. 

Since this is an area of great interest not only to me but also to all sea anglers, I contacted Diarmuid Ryan, the program manager for IMREC, and invited him to the podcast. Diarmuid kindly accepted the invitation and today I am bringing you our conversation.

Out of all the topics we discussed, we probably spent a disproportionate amount of time talking about bass angling with lures. But I’m not going to apologize for that! Even if you’re not into lure bass fishing, in this episode you will find plenty of interesting and important information.

Episode 73: Quantitative Ecology with Kilian Murphy

Is it possible to use artificial intelligence to tell us how rewilding will look in any area where it is implemented? Is it possible to create a computer model that would tell us how the species eradicated from the landscape hundreds of years ago would behave when reintroduced? Listen to my conversation with Kilian Murphy where we talk about such models.

During the podcast we discuss the possibility of reintroducing wolves and wild boars to Ireland, and the difference in perception of rewilding between city-dwellers and farmers. We also touch on the role hunters have to play in rewilding projects and discuss the dynamics and density of the deer population in Ireland.

Episode 72: Seal Rescue Ireland with Mel Robinson

In this episode, I talk with Mel Robinson who is the Director Of Animal Care for Seal Rescue Ireland. While listening to this episode you can learn what Seal Rescue Ireland is, how and why they are helping seals, as well as a few rather interesting facts about seals.

In the podcast, we purposely did not delve into the issue of human-seal conflict. To me, it is a complex and interesting problem and I feel like it deserves to be discussed separately.

Lockdown Fishing

Like most of you I feel the impact of the covid pandemic. Outdoor pursuits are among the impacted activities. Even though many of them could be considered the original forms of social distancing. Obviously any travel, even very near, is off the table. Luckily for me I have access to a beautiful coastal area just a few hundred meters outside my front door. That of course means that angling is my daily exercise of choice. 

I know a few tried fishing marks in this area. Under normal circumstances, I don’t usually fish them. Ironically, I used to when I lived in the nearby town and had to drive half an hour to reach them. That made me think about how often we overlook what’s within our reach and instead opt for some “better”, more inaccessible, locations for our activities. It’s like the old angling saying, “The biggest perch are always closer to the opposite bank”. Does that sound familiar?

How often does the lockdown force us to discover or rediscover outdoor gems that we overlooked because they are so close and familiar that they seem bland and boring? In any case, I intend to make the best of what I have and, who knows, maybe catch an unexpected specimen fish!

Episode 71: The European Federation for Hunting and Conservation with David Scallan

The European Federation for Hunting and Conservation, or FACE for short, is an international organization that represents the interests of European hunters. It serves as a bridge between the institutions of the European Union and hunters.

In episode 59 I talked with Dan Curley, the chairman of NARGC, the Irish member organization of FACE. Today, however, we’re going to talk about hunting from the European perspective, with our guest, FACE Secretary General, Dr. David Scallan.

During our conversation, we discuss the biodiversity manifesto, rewilding projects, hunting’s PR, as well as the ongoing process aimed at restricting the use of lead in field sports.