News A male Asiatic lion guarding his cub at London Zoo

To most of us, lions are African, but many of the great beasts of legend were Indian. Now a zoo plans to breed more of them

A meerkat peers out from beneath a rock during a stocktake

Animals counted up in London Zoo stocktake

Creatures were given snacks in exchange for having their details recorded by zoo keepers

Sea lions at Whipsnade Zoo have had problems with their eyesight

Whipsnade revamp gives its sea lions eye trouble

Safety report reveals that rises in chlorine in the pool where they perform their popular Splash show has caused deterioration in their vision

Marine biology: Appeal launched to find rare Madagascan fish

A worldwide appeal has been launched to find a mate for the last remaining males of a fish on the brink of extinction. The Mangarahara cichlid, from Madagascar, is believed to have vanished from the wild as a result of the building of dams on the Mangarahara River.

Chilean rose tarantula

A cure for my spider phobia? That doesn't have legs

London Zoo must immediately stop sending me emails inviting me to get up close and personal with eight-legged freaks. Otherwise known as spiders.

Ruth Padel's 'The Mara Crossing' is out now

Talks and tigers are a natural attraction

My book on migration, The Mara Crossing, took seven years. I put the birds and animals first, so their dangerous journeys could show that the drive to find better living conditions is universal and that human migration, a burning political topic everywhere today, is as natural as that of animals. Both are done to survive, both are part of the self-renewing nature of all life.

Romantic tail: London Zoo is boosting seahorse populations

Amorous seahorses: Underwater love at London Zoo

Conservationists encourage animals to mate by supplying the fishy couples with their own private tanks

Richard Clayderman plays to the reptiles in the hope of getting them in the mood

'Prince of Romance' Richard Clayderman called in to encourage tortoises to mate for Valentine's Day

Richard Clayderman, who has been called the 'Prince of Romance', has likely had many odd requests during his successful career as a musician, but surely none as strange as this.

Sir David Attenborough's secret guilt: He used to be a butterfly-collector

He is the world’s most famous defender of the natural world – but for years, Sir David Attenborough harboured a secret guilt about it.

Simon Kelner: The A-Z of Britain in stamps? I want to see them all

Philately has never got me anywhere, although my early interest in stamp-collecting means I still take an interest in matters relating to postage stamps. As a boy, I loved everything about stamps: they were like miniature works of art (the good ones, anyway), and I found them a much more interesting and engaging way to learn about geography.

22 years for drug'n'fish smugglers

Two men have been jailed for trying to smuggle cocaine into Britain in bags of live tropical fish.

London Zoo stocktake under way

They can dive, swim and glide but even the penguins at London Zoo will find it difficult to hide from keepers who have the tricky but essential task of counting every animal in their care.

Widow loses bid to claim surviving zoo animals

Six exotic animals that survived a police hunt after being freed by their owner before he killed himself will be kept in quarantine at a zoo, not returned to his widow, Ohio's department of agriculture has ordered.

Getting straight to the root of a feline problem

When an enormous Siberian tiger has a toothache, you need to find a very brave dentist.

Lions, tigers and camels on the loose in rural Ohio

A sheriff said he gave orders to shoot to kill because he had to put the safety of residents first

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Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones