Search for nation’s top creature in Scottish Animal World Cup

The inaugural competition, run by the National Trust for Scotland, will see 32 creatures competing for the title.

Search for nation’s top creature in Scottish Animal World Cup

A search to find the nation’s favourite animal has been launched, with creatures including puffins and red squirrels vying for the top spot.

The inaugural Scottish Animal World Cup, run online by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), will see 32 creatures competing for the title.

Contestants will go head to head in social media polls, with the first knockout stage on Wednesday opening with a clash between the basking shark and the adder.

On Friday, the Soay sheep will compete with the kingfisher.

Later rounds, held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the NTS Facebook page, will feature pairings such as the Highland midge versus the small tortoiseshell butterfly, and the bottlenose dolphin against the Shetland pony.

Michael Terwey, head of heritage services and consultancy at NTS, said: “Most people know that Scotland’s national animal is the unicorn but you don’t see so many of them about the place.

“So, we thought we’d get the Scottish public to help us find the species that encapsulates Scotland’s diverse fauna and name it Scotland’s best.

“Although we’ve had to temporarily close our properties, we wanted to celebrate the incredible variety of animals that we share these lands with.

“That’s why we’re asking the public to get involved and vote for who they want to win. We love them all (even the midge) so we couldn’t possibly decide so an online poll seemed like the best idea.

“Pitching a Highland cow against a damselfly or an Atlantic puffin against a Scottish wildcat would have been a logistical nightmare anyway, so keeping it virtual makes things a lot easier.”

Over the next ten weeks there will be two knockout rounds, a quarter-final and a semi-final, with the final on June 10 when Scotland’s favourite animal will be crowned.

Voting is open from 10.30am on Wednesday at