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The birds' beauty belies their often menacing and destructive nature 

Footage captured for the BBC One documentary Dolphins: Spy in the Pod showed the marine mammals chewing on puffer fish in order to get 'high'

Dolphins ‘deliberately get high’ on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around

Extraordinary scenes filmed for new documentary showing the marine mammals in their natural habitats

Brumbies are descendants of horses released into the wild and symbolise the romance of the outback for many Australians

To cull or not? ‘Brumby’ wild horses divide Australians

For many Australians, the brumby – or wild horse – symbolises the romance and adventure of the outback.

Guests came suitably attired for the sleepover in the museum's imposing entrance hall

A night at the Natural History Museum – just don’t try doing what comes naturally at this sleepover for grown-ups

It’s billed as a sleepover, but as Kunal Dutta discovered, what with insect-based snacks there was far too much happening at the Natural History Museum

An Italian woman with a genetic disease has spoken out against the death threats she has received after defending medical experiments on animals

Italian woman with genetic disease condemns death threats received after defending animal experiments

Caterina Simonsen, a veterinary student who is unable to breathe unaided, said she has received a number of 'death wishes' after posting the message in support of animals testing

Fiddler crabs: During mating displays, the males stand beside other males who have smaller claws to make their own claws look bigger

Just like that! Meet Mother Nature's magicians

Animal illusionists trick predators, win mates, even disappear – and there are more of them than we thought, says new research

On the agenda: East 17 redux; Hustle hair; New Year's resolutions; animal hats; 'lelfies'

Middle-class problems: New Year's parties

RSPCA has become ‘sinister and nasty’ and should be replaced, says head of Countryside Alliance

Sir Barney White-Spunner questions authority of ‘once great British institution’

Shoppers queue in the early morning outside Selfridges department store in central London in search of a bargain in the post Christmas Boxing Day sales

What to do between Christmas and New Year

There’s no use ‘fighting through the hordes’ only to suffer the ignominy of having your card declined in front of other dead-eyed bargain-hunting animals

A baby northern gannet stands next to one of its parents

Gannet chick-eating championships provoke anger from wildlife lovers

The first “world championship” for eating pickled baby gannets, known as “guga”, has sparked new calls for a total ban on the Hebridean tradition of hunting chicks by clubbing  them with sticks.

The chalkhill blue butterfly population has exploded on many of Britain's downs in July

A good year for nature in Britain, despite the cold: After frostiest March for 50 years, summer gave rise to an explosion in wildlife

'We had a wonderful July,' says National Trust specialist. 'The way nature fought back was miraculous; it went into overdrive'

A new poll reveals that eight out of ten Britons are against the fox hunting ban being lifted

Eight out of ten want to keep fox hunting ban

Anti-hunt campaigners are challenging the Prime Minister David Cameron to carry out his pledge for a free vote over the hunting ban, with new polling revealing eight out of ten Britons are against the ban being lifted.

Elephant Appeal: The Kenyan canine unit putting elephant poachers off the scent

The business of protecting wildlife has now become an extremely professional and militarised affair

Fool cue: Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy in 'Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues'

Anchorman 2: How not to do sequels

Besides being really very boring, it’s also an irritating moral lecture on the way people consume news media

KFOR soldiers patrol near the village of Cabra, Kosovo on 18 October 2011

Italian army medical officer faces jail for saving life of pregnant cat

Lieutenant Barbara Balanzoni, a reservist who works as an anaesthetist in Tuscany, rescued the dying animal at a Nato base in Kosovo

The artificial heart produced by Biomedical firm Carmat

Science trumps sentiment as France claims breakthrough with first artificial heart transplant

'Holy grail' of transplant surgery is performed on 75-year-old man

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 30 January 2015
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee