Over 31,000 species have been documented for Ireland. Species diversity in Ireland is maintained because of the variety of habitats and environmental conditions available for plants and animals to live and reproduce. This diversity of species is threatened because of persistent management and other human induced changes leading to the reduction of habitat quality and general environmental degradation. For the taxonomic groups for which formal conservation assessments have been completed we know that, on average, just over 20% of species are threatened with extinction in Ireland. Here is a selection of just 10 of Ireland’s most threatened species.

Great Yellow Bumblebee

Great Yellow Bumblebee
The Great Yellow Bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus) is Endangered in Ireland. In the past it was widely distributed across the country, though it was probably never common. It has declined so drastically that it is now known from only a few remaining populations. The healthiest of these is on the Mullet Peninsula in County Mayo. It emerges from hibernation later than most other bumblebees to coincide with when grassland floras are at their peak, and has declined in parallel with this habitat. It is also Vulnerable at the European level. The opportunities to see this bright yellow bumblebee in Ireland could be nearing an end unfortunately (Photograph: Dara Stanley).