Harder to Find than a Four-Leaf Clover: 9 of Ireland's Most Threatened Species

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In honor of St. Patrick's Day, we decided to take a look at creatures just as elusive as that pot of gold.

The lush green landscapes of the Emerald Isle look calm and peaceful from far away -- but Ireland's species -- from a gorgeous barn owl to a toad that runs instead of hops, to a bat no longer found in the rest of Europe -- are in as much danger as those in the rest of the world. Conservation efforts (and a little luck o' the Irish) could still save some of them from extinction.

Barn Owl

Listed as Amber on the Ireland Environmental Protection Agency list, the barn owl is fighting major breeding decline.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has been setting up nestboxes to encourage the owls' breeding habits, and also offers tips for combating the habitat loss and agricultural changes that threaten their survival.

Photo: Iain Lees/Creative Commons

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