Paddy Sleeman

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Fox with prey: The urban adult is “thin and exhausted” from finding and ferrying food to its cubs. Illustration: Michael Viney

Of the many surreal images in the iconography of lockdown, for me the most telling was the trotting fox on a shuttered, empty Grafton Street. There wa(...)

The otter, Lutra lutra, is now the symbolic animal used by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Illustration: Michael Viney

Waking on so many days to human distress in droughts, fires, floods and storms, sometimes it’s hard to find proper concern for the rest of the natural(...)

Mammals such as foxes and pine martens make an autumn feast of all the blackberries they can reach.

Among the many indelible images of BBC’s natural history television, one could just as well have been filmed on our acre: a time-lapse study of plant (...)

The Irish damselfly also known as the Irish bluet

This beautiful creature flew into our house recently. Orla Martin, New Ross, Co Wexford It’s the Irish damselfly, also called the Irish bluet, first(...)

Irish badgers: the potential of vaccination has only now arrived in hard evidence. Illustration: Michael Viney

In the spring of 1991 a major conference on the Irish badger’s link to tuberculosis in cattle gathered scientists, government vets and wildlife conser(...)

New arrival: the hazel dormouse came to Ireland recently, perhaps in French hay. Illustration: Michael Viney

A little animal, curled up and sleeping, nose to furry tail, like a strokable netsuke, tumbled out of a bag of hay in front of a reader in Co Kildare (...)

A ferret imported from England cost 30 shillings. It needed muzzling when put down the  rabbit burrow or it would stay below to gnaw on its prey and then go to sleep. Illustration: Michael Viney

A pair of rabbits was stuffed with breadcrumbs, onions and herbs, wrapped in thick slices of bacon, and then packed around with parsnips and carrots, (...)

Impatient with Impatiens glandulifera: Himalayan balsam. Illustration: Michael Viney

A stray seed like a little black ball bearing flew from a passing wheel some years ago and took root at the soggy roadside outside the gate. The next (...)

Irish resident: the bank vole seems to have arrived with German machinery for the Ardnacrusha power project in the 1920s. Illustration: Michael Viney

The sight from our breakfast window of three or four hares pretending to ignore each other in the rocky meadow up the hill has promised that some mamm(...)

The stoat: distinctly Irish. Illustration: Michael Viney

For well over a century and a half, how Ireland got its flora and fauna has been an open challenge for the country’s earth scientists. In the earliest(...)

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