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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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
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How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

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Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss