Episode 91: Beaver Trust with Chris Jones

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts 

In this episode, once again, we are going to talk about ecological restoration and bringing back species that were extirpated from their native range. Our guest is Chris Jones who is the Restoration Director at Beaver Trust.

During our conversation, we discuss the history of Beaver Trust, how it was found and why. Then we discuss beaver ecology and the role of beavers in the ecosystem. Chris gives us some real-life examples of benefits that beavers bring, not only to the environment but also to humans.

We finish our conversation by discussing the future of beaver reintroductions and broader, the future of ecological restoration. This episode is a must-listen if you are interested in ecology and habitat restoration.

Episode 90: The American Black Bear with Matt Gould

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts 

This time our guest is a wildlife biologist from across the pond. Matt Gould works for the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology at New Mexico State University. Matt is also an avid hunter. This combination makes him a perfect guest for my podcast.

Matt has done a lot of research and has written several papers on American black bears and that was the topic I was most interested in. However, we started our conversation by discussing birds of prey, their conservation status, and the impact the wind farm industry has on their mortality.

We had a great conversation, and by listening to it, you can learn a lot. Not only about black bears and eagles, but also about the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Enjoy!

Episode 89: Camera Trapping and Large Mammal Monitoring with Adam Francis Smith

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts 

In this instalment of the podcast, our guest is a young scientist, Adam Francis Smith, who lives in the Bavarian Forest National Park. Adam specializes in large terrestrial mammal monitoring and predator-prey interactions. He also works for the Frankfurt Zoological Society where he focuses on specific project areas in Ukraine and Belarus and where, with a team of ecologists, he tries to protect large wilderness areas.

During our conversation, Adam took us on a fascinating journey to, among other places, the Chernobyl Radiation and Ecological Biosphere Reserve where he and his team set camera traps to monitor predator and prey species. Of course, there was no way to avoid mentioning rewilding, a topic that is prominently featured in recent podcasts.

Episode 88: Rewilding Scotland with Peter Cairns

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts 

Peter Cairns is the executive director of the environmental charity Scotland: The Big Picture, the first organisation in Scotland wholly dedicated to championing rewilding. We started our conversation by discussing the controversy surrounding the term rewilding. Since rewilding (for want of a better, less controversial, term) is of great interest to me, the discussion started to flow from there.

After that, we discussed a wide range of related socio-economic and environmental issues. Finally, we ended up examining individual species that had been extirpated. Some of them, like beavers, have since been reintroduced. Others, like lynx, could be reintroduced in the future. And wolves… yes we talked about wolves too. But don’t worry, this conversation wasn’t about some fantasies. I feel like we had a very reasonable and balanced discussion. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.

Episode 87: Irish Whale and Dolphin Group with Pádraig Whooley

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts 

I have wanted to record an episode about the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) and their work for quite a while now. Their excellent website, with a database where you can report sightings and strandings, was even mentioned in one of my vlogs. So today, it is my pleasure to bring you my conversation with IWDG’s Sightings Officer Pádraig Whooley.

We started with discussing at length IWDG origins and their current work. After that, we dug deep into a whole host of interesting topics related to cetaceans, starting with a discussion about cetacean species that can be observed and encountered in our local waters. That conversation included some interesting facts about how to behave in the presence of a whale and about the rules and regulations around it. We discussed whale watching techniques and the required equipment. We also talked about the unpleasant issue of whale strandings. And of course, I did not forget to discuss cetacean evolution, a personal favourite of mine.

This is an amazing episode and if you have any level of interest in whales or dolphins you will, without a doubt, find it deeply interesting.

Episode 86: Hunting and Nutrition with Alan Kenny

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts 

I don’t think that anyone who has at least dipped his toes in hunting needs to be convinced of how important it is to be in good physical shape to fully enjoy the experience. Strength and endurance come in handy not only when it comes to walking long miles in search of an animal with a lot of gear on your back but also during the extraction of the carcass. A critical component of keeping yourself fit and strong is correct nutrition. Luckily, a successful hunt itself helps you source healthy, clean, and nutrient-dense food.

And so to explore the topic of hunting and nutrition, our guest today is Alan Kenny who, having spent years hunting in the Canadian wilderness, knows a thing or two about the demands of hunting. And Alan is also a performance nutritionist who heads the science & education area for Optimum Nutrition where he works with athletes. During our chat, we discuss various aspects of hunting in Canada before switching to the subject of nutrition.

Full disclaimer: Optimum Nutrition is not sponsoring this episode, although they should feel completely free to send me a big drum of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Powder.

Episode 85: Time nor Tide with Ben Harkin

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts 

Climate change, in one way or another, is mentioned in almost every episode of my podcast. But with the exception of episode 38, which was a recorded public talk, I have never dedicated a whole episode to this important issue. But today we’re going to jump right into this subject with Ben Harkin who wrote a book about climate change in the Irish context. Ben is a young man who decided to put to good use the extra time he had available during the lockdown and wrote a book about climate change! Not only that, he also self-published it to avoid any delays with getting his message out. Talk about a good use of time!

I read the book and must say that I’m blown away by it. It is well written and covers a wide spectrum of climate change issues. Ben put a lot of effort into research for the book and all key information and statements are backed up with ample references to scientific papers, press releases, governmental documents and other books. In the book, Ben makes many refreshing observations that I have not heard before. What are they? You need to buy the book and read it for yourself! One thing for sure you won’t regret your purchase. And with the Christmas season around the corner, you just might have an excellent gift idea!

Given all of the above, I was really pleased to be able to sit down with Ben and talk about his book. In this episode, we not only discuss some of the issues he mentions but also his motives and the process of writing the book. I am very happy with this episode and Ben is a great man. Go, listen, and then buy the book!

Episode 84: Basking Sharks with Natasha Phillips and Amy Garbett

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts

In this episode, I had the pleasure to talk once again with scientists from SeaMonitor project. This time our guests were Dr Natasha Phillips and Dr Amy Garbett. Our conversation was focused on Basking Sharks but while at it we discussed a whole range of other subjects as well, like genetic connectivity, biotelemetry and bioinformatics. There is nothing like a conversation with scientists who are genuinely passionate about their work. If you are interested in marine biology, sharks and science you can’t afford to miss this episode!

Episode 83: Tracking Seals with Sam L Cox

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts

This is yet another episode of the podcast where we talk about seals. This time I hit you with a healthy dose of unbiased, evidence-based knowledge. Actually, that’s not me doing the hitting but our guest Dr Sam L Cox who is a quantitative ecologist and researcher for the SeaMonitor project. In our conversation, we discuss the behaviour and spatial ecology of harbour seals which are tracked using GPS tags glued to their head. But that’s not all, Sam has done a lot of research studying other, more exotic, species of seals, like elephant seals. So, we discuss that too! We also touch on the anthropogenic impact on seals and mobile marine predators in general. This is one interesting episode. Enjoy!

Episode 82: Outdoor Therapy with Ruth Allen

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Google Podcasts

The benefits of being outdoors for our mental health and wellbeing have been discussed on the podcast a few times already. But this is a subject that is always worth revisiting. Especially when my guest’s impressive resume guarantees a fresh and well-developed approach.

And so in this episode, our guest is Dr Ruth Allen, an outdoor and online counselling therapist, professional development coach, and experienced consultant, trainer and facilitator. During the podcast, we discuss the importance of connecting with nature, being comfortable with one’s own company and thoughts, dealing with negativity, the destructive effects of social media and the need to disconnect in today’s always-online world.