They are affectionately known as the clowns of the sea.

With their distinctive red and black eye markings and brightly-coloured bills, puffins are one of the most recognisable seabirds, regularly spotted around Scotland’s coast in spring and summer.

However, the iconic birds have declined rapidly over the last 20 years, with numbers in Shetland dropping from 33,000 to just 570 in the wild.

This threat has prompted a campaign aimed at highlighting the plight of the puffin, and other Scottish wildlife, through pixelated images.

Inspired by the WWF Population by Pixel campaign, the Macdonald hotel group has created its own pixelated images of endangered animals in Scotland, with the number of pixels representing how many animals are left in the wild.

The project also includes images of golden eagles, bottlenose dolphins, wildcats, capercaillie and and pine martens.

Iain Miller, managing director of Macdonald Aviemore Resort, said: “Scotland has some of the most breathtaking landscapes and nature anywhere in the world, but we have to recognise that it’s home to some amazing, native animals whose very existence is under threat.

“We felt it was important to highlight these endangered species and really draw attention to them at a time when numbers are decreasing.

“We’re sometimes guilty of thinking endangered species are all on other continents, in far away countries, but the reality is, it’s happening right on our doorstep.

“So we’ve created this really visually-arresting piece that we hope will capture the public’s imagination, celebrate Scotland, but also raise awareness of an issue that’s happening right now, here in the UK.”

According to the campaign, the Scottish puffin population has dropped to 570 due to rising sea temperature causing sand eels - puffins main source of food - further away from the birds’ natural habitat.

For golden eagles, there are only 440 pairs left in Scotland, with dwindling prey and illegal persecutions the main threats to the species.

Bottlenose dolphins are also at risk, with numbers now at just 200 due to pollution in the waters the swim in and depletion of fish stock.

Meanwhile, there are just 35 wildcats remaining in Scotland, 1114 capercaillie and 3500 pine martens, with shrinking habitats and climate change contributing the decline of the animals.

Lang Banks, directo of WWF Scotland, welcomed the campaign by the hotel chain.

He said: “It’s great to see this hotel chain has taken inspiration from WWF’s pixelated images campaign to raise awareness of the impact of the climate and nature crises on Scottish species.

“Big business has a vital role in tackling these crises, by reducing emissions and sourcing sustainably throughout their operations, and we look forward to hearing how this hotel chain will be playing its part.”

Sarah Robinson, director of conservation at the Scottish Wildlife Trust added that any move to draw attention to the plight of endangered species was to be welcomed.

“Wildlife is increasingly threatened by pressures including climate change and habitat loss, she said.

“The latest State of Nature Report shows that one in nine Scottish species is now at risk of extinction.

“We welcome any initiative that draws attention to the plight facing many of our most iconic wildlife species, and encourages the urgent action needed to ensure they can recover and thrive.”