The objective of this designation is the protection of a named species of wild animal (vertebrate or invertebrate).
Refuges for Fauna are designated by ministerial order under Section 17 of the Wildlife Act 1976 as amended by Section 28 of the Wildlife (Amendment) Act 2000.
The designation’s main use in Ireland has been in protecting breeding bird species on marine cliffs and small islands where there is no threat of potentially damaging activities due to these site’s inaccessibility. The designation is in effect a compulsory management agreement for which compensation is provided.
If a site is to gain designation where the minister considers that a particular species of fauna should be specially protected on any land which is, or is contiguous to, habitat of the species then, subject to subsection 5 of this section (the Wildlife Act 1976, Section 17), he may publish in the Iris Oifigiuil and in at least one newspaper circulating in the locality in which the land is situated, a notice of his intention to make an order designating the land as a refuge for such fauna.
By 1996 seven such refuges were designated due to them supporting the following species-
Arctic tern Guillemot Chough
Common Tern Kittiwake Twite
Roseate Tern Puffin Shag
Sandwich Tern Storm Petrel Rock Pipit
Little Tern Razorbill Peregrine
Common Gull Black Headed Gull Raven
Herring Gull Cormorant Fulmar
Great Black Backed Gull