An animal-themed Lothian bus voted for by the public is now patrolling the streets of Edinburgh.

RZSS Edinburgh Zoo and Lothian Buses teamed up to give the public the chance to vote for the latest design on the newest number 26 ‘Zoo bus’.

Over 650 votes were cast and despite all the options being visitor favourites at the Zoo, otters were the clear winner. Commuters will now be able to enjoy the new buses featuring huge pictures of the Zoo’s oriental short-clawed otters.

The public vote follows the recent renewal of the Edinburgh Zoo and Lothian Buses partnership. The new three-year deal will see 30 Lothian buses transformed into animals from the Zoo’s collection, cementing Lothian’s role as official transport partner for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS).

The first design to hit the Capital’s streets was the spectacular Natal dwarf chameleon, which can be seen in the Zoo’s brand new ‘Wee Beasties’ exhibit, alongside the slogan ‘we come and go’. Other designs in the collection include a flamingo who encourages travellers to ‘feel fabulous’, a lion who invites passengers to ‘travel with pride’, and the Zoo’s famous giant pandas who call on day-trippers to ‘sit back and relax’.

The 26 Service connects communities from the west of the city to East Lothian. It has become known locally as the “Zoo bus” as it drops thousands of customers at the entrance of RZSS Edinburgh Zoo. The new buses are part of Lothian’s environmentally-friendly fleet and will reduce Co2 emissions by 25% compared with its current vehicles.

As a conservation charity, RZSS believes that conservation and protecting the environment go hand in hand, working in over 20 countries around the world, our team of experts work around the clock tackling issues affecting rare and endangered species.