Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters

Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

The aristocrat wrote a best-selling memoir about the life he lived in Sandaig with his pet otters, and his eccentric devotion to them inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Plastic beads are often invisible to the naked eye and can enter the food chain via fish

Microplastic waste: This massive (tiny) threat to sea life is now in every ocean

Researchers warn that only drastic action to eliminate it at source will protect marine wildlife for future generations
Scientists have found that being a smart primate is down to genes rather than upbringing

Nature rather than nurture governs intelligent behaviour in primates, scientists discover

The findings could be important for the understanding of human intelligence and cognitive abilities

Peta said sheep are deprived of food and water, sometimes overnight, in part so that they'll put up less resistance when shearers handle them roughly

US and Australian wool industries exposed in shocking undercover footage captured by animal rights groups

Peta said its videos showed abuses – including twisting the necks of sheep until they snapped – were widespread throughout the industry

Seasick: a huge bloom of algae discolours the water in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Florida, USA

Can scientists save the world's sea life from "ocean acidification"?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
The starling is one of 15 bird species whose decline in population has been linked to pesticide use in the Netherlands

Increased use of controversial pesticides linked directly to decline of bird species, scientists show

The results will increase the pressure on the UK Government to change its relaxed stance on neonicotinoids

File image of a crocodile sunbathing on a river bank in the Yala National Park in Sri Lanka

Mystery 6ft crocodile appears in middle of Greek lake – leaving local farmers terrified

Giant reptile accused of eating lambs and ducks

Bombus dahlbomii largest bumblebee in world from Chile

Bye bye big bee: In South America, the world's largest bumblebee is at risk from imported rivals

Grim echo of when European humans first arrived in the Americas and infection killed millions of the indigenous inhabitants

Let me ask you this: 'Why don't ants get killed in the microwave?'

A microwave works by passing radio waves at a frequency of 2.45 gigahertz through any food. Radio waves at this frequency have an interesting property: they are absorbed by water and fats. When absorbed, the water or fat molecules start rotating due to the alternating nature of the electric fields of the microwave. This atomic motion is directly converted into energy which is given out as heat.

The last wild beavers in the UK were in Scotland, but those were hunted to extinction in the 16th century (file picture)

First wild beavers spotted in England for 800 years could be trapped and put in zoo by Government

Defra was concerned over them carrying a destructive parasite

England’s upland peatlands are so badly neglected that just 4 per cent are in good ecological condition, a coalition of water companies and wildlife groups have warned

Wildlife groups warn of threat to British peatlands that give clean water and store CO2

England’s upland peatlands are so badly neglected that just 4 per cent are in good ecological condition, a coalition of water companies and wildlife groups warns today.

Baby bear euthanised by Swiss zoo amid public outrage will now be stuffed and displayed to teach children 'nature can be very cruel'

The cub was rejected by its mother and father in tragic circumstances earlier this year

Migaloo the while whale, sighted at the Bernard Islands on Saturday 17 August, 2013

Extremely rare white whale ‘Migaloo’ sighted for first time this year off coast of Australia

Once thought to be the only all-white humpback whale in the world

A box tree moth. The caterpillar is a voracious eater of box hedges

Very hungry Asian caterpillar threatens Britain’s box hedges

Not since Alexander Pope ended the 18th-century craze for artfully-trimmed hedges by lampooning aristocrats for turning shrubs into “awkward figures of men” has British topiary faced such a grave threat.

Dirty business: A grounded coal carrier leaks oil on the Great Barrier Reef in 2010

Plans for five 'megaports' along Queensland coast threatens Great Barrier Reef

The controversial scheme is horrifying environmentalists and tour operators
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Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits