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Schoolteacher William Buchman was arrested after officers found over 300 living and dead snakes inside his property

The polar bear is a beast that taps into our primitive fear of the ultimate predator

I struggle to get my head around the trophy-hunting of polar bears. When hunting is carried out by indiginous Inuit populations for sustenance, that is different. Inuit hunters use every part of the polar bear's body and demonstrate a profound knowledge and respect for the creature. I have yet to meet a trophy-hunter who has had any real respect for an animal.

Rugs, trophies, skulls, teeth – more than 32,000 specimens of polar bear were traded in the last decade

Britain urged to stop supporting the trade in dead polar bears

Environmentalists including Chris Packham and Bear Grylls have urged Britain to drop its support for polar bear trading – claiming that the UK's opposition to a ban has contributed to thousands of the animals being hunted for rugs, trophies and body-parts.

Ice floes off the coast of Greenland. The floes are frozen masses of seawater (saltwater) that float on the surface of the sea. The tracking of ice floes is important to both understanding critical environmental issues such as global warming, and to aid in Arctic navigation. Taken with a Canon EOS-1D X and EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens set to 16mm, exposure was 1/160sec at f/16, ISO400

WWF Arctic conservation expedition gallery

Professional photographer for Canon Europe, Thorsten Milse, recently accompanied the WWF's conservation sailing expedition to the Arctic as part of the WWF Last Ice Area Project.

What should I call my pet? Top Ten Most Popular Dog Names of 2012

Fido will no longer cut it. If you hope to ascend to the upper echelons of glamour, it's not enough to name your children Tabitha and Casper, your pets must also have unique monikers. At least that's on the evidence provided by the top ten most popular dog names of 2012.

Last Night's Viewing - The Polar Bear Family and Me, BBC2; The Truth About Magaluf: Stacey Dooley Investigates, BBC3

"It's a bit of a waiting game," said a polar bear expert in The Polar Bear Family and Me, as he and Gordon Buchanan hunkered down to wait for their subject to do something filmable. But it isn't if you're watching the final film. You don't have to wait for anything, these days, as the opening sequence from last night's episode demonstrated, immediately laying out a bullet-point preview of every moment of wonder and awe that was to follow.

If you ask me...I'm sticking with my 'twosie' - a more toilet-friendly outfit by far

Here's my review of 2012: A lot of stuff happened. It was marvellous

Paloma Faith would put Fifty Shades of Grey in Room 101; comedian Jack Whitehall hates 'glamping'

What gets my goat! 'Room 101' returns

A new set of celebrities reveal their pet hates. Jonathan Owen investigates

Nepalese army hunts elephant that killed four

Soldiers in Nepal are hunting a wild elephant that is terrorising villagers in the south of the country and has killed four people in the past three months.

Making Christmas in the zoo bearable: Video shows animals opening presents at Sydney zoo

Video shows animals getting Christmas presents: but there's not a Furby or iPad in sight...

Matt Dunham Royal winner

Rejoice! An open letter to dear Kate Middleton and Prince William, who are expecting their first child

Including a few tips on how to make the issue of their love appeal to the masses

South Africa is home to about 20,000 rhinos

Poachers' trade in rhino horn is 'pushing species into decline'

Demand in Far East for horn's medicinal qualities drives killings to record levels

US man jailed for six months after 'depraved' fork attack on ex-girlfriend's parrot

Man didn't remember what happened and claimed he may have mixed anti-anxiety medication with whisky and slipped into a blacked-out rage

‘Extinct’ animal turns up in Wales as roadside carcass proves elusive pine martens still exist

One of Britain’s rarest and most elusive animals has been found in Wales, after a hunt lasting more than 40 years – the pine marten.

Animal Collective, The Roundhouse, London

"For us it's not always about just writing a good song" Animal Collective's vocalist Avey Tare once maintained. "We want to play with your ears in terms of colours and space with sound."

Postcard from... Berlin

Berlin likes to honour its animal legends. Knautschke was the name of the city's beloved hippopotamus – a brave creature born in Berlin's zoo at the height of the Second World War, he survived the trauma of the Allied air raids which killed his mother.

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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there