Most Irish mammals are protected under the Wildlife Act. Eleven of these have been identified within the Irish Red Data Book as being Internationally Important; two others are Indeterminate. In 1992, the EU passed the Habitats Directive. Under this Directive, suitable areas of land are designated in order to protect the rare species that occur there. Such areas are called SACs (Special Areas of Conservation). Much of the Park is a SAC, and much of the area around it has also been so designated. Within the Park, eleven mammal species are listed under the Habitats Directive, including all the bat species, the Irish Hare, Badger, Pine Marten and Otter.
The animals listed in the Habitats Directive are classified under different annexes, each with its own level of protection. Annex II species demand the highest protection – they are species whose conservation requires the designation of SACs. The Otter is the only Annex II mammal within the Park. Annex IV species are defined as those in need of strict protection. All the bats and the Otter fall into this category. Annex V species may be hunted in certain circumstances - they are described as species whose taking in the wild and exploitation may be subject to management measures. The Irish Hare and the Pine Marten fall into this category.
It should be noted that a tenth bat species - the Brandt's Bat, has recently been discovered in the Park – a new Irish species. This species will also be protected under the Wildlife Act, despite not appearing on the list below.
Red Data Book
|Whiskered Bat||Annex IV||Indeterminate||Yes|
|Nattererís Bat||Annex IV||Indeterminate||Yes|
|Common Pipistrelle||Annex IV||Internationally Important||Yes|
|Soprano Pipistrelle||Annex IV||Internationally Important||Yes|
|Nathusius' Pipistrelle||Annex IV||Internationally Important||Yes|
|Daubentonís Bat||Annex IV||Internationally Important||Yes|
|Leislerís Bat||Annex IV||Internationally Important||Yes|
|Brown Long-eared Bat||Annex IV||Internationally Important||Yes|
|Pine Marten||Annex V||Internationally Important||Yes|
|Otter||Annex II & IV||Internationally Important||Yes|
|Irish Hare||Annex V||Internationally Important||Yes|