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

'It's very big, fast and angry... and it came with my online shopping'

Zoo experts stumped after woman hands in mystery spider species

Stem cells give hope for rare species

Scientists have taken the first tentative steps towards conserving some of the world's most endangered species with the help of stem-cell technology, which could lead to the generation of sperm and eggs from skin cells.

Mark Avery: It demeans us when we let a species die

On 1 September 1914 a bird known as Martha died in a cage in Cincinnati Zoo and the passenger pigeon was extinct. Newspapers across the world marked the event but nearly 100 years later should we give Martha a moment's thought? Indeed, why should we care about extinctions?

Leading article: Are zoos justified?

One of the advantages of the science of animal behaviour, which was founded 60 years ago by Niko Tinbergen and Konrad Lorenz, is that it has let us understand something of the essence of wild creatures: how they go about their normal lives in their natural state. It has also correspondingly enabled us to see, for the first time, that some behaviours exhibited by the animals we keep in captivity are not normal at all. Indeed, as we report today in the case of chimpanzees, they can be examples of considerable distress, or even incipient madness; and the cause seems to be captivity itself.

Zoo to breed chimpanzees despite cruelty warning

A Scottish zoo is planning to start a new breeding programme for chimpanzees, in the wake of recent research suggesting that captivity drives chimps mad.

In the Dust, Zoo Southside, Edinburgh

There's an immediate energy to In the Dust, a new triple bill by 2Faced Dance Company. This all-male troupe mixes hip-hop moves with contemporary dance, creating a muscular, confident style. These works show none of the joins that can plague crossover projects. The dancers have an easy athleticism, at home with everything from street dance acrobatics to mooching contemporary steps.

Natalie Haynes: Bartender! A stiff drink for those mothers

Start the week ...

Robert Hanks: Lions aren't just big pussy cats – they're dignified and dangerous

News from the Daily Mail that Alexander Pylyshenko, owner of a small private zoo in Vasylivka, Ukraine, is to spend five weeks living in a cage with two lions.

Can an ape learn to be human?

As two new films explore the human-like behaviour of chimpanzees, Steve Connor explains the fascination – and fear – we have about our closest living relatives

Rhino horn thefts blamed on Irish gang

An organised crime gang from Ireland is masterminding illegal trade in rhino horns around the world.

DVD: The Nicolas Philibert Collection (12)

The standout here is the ineffably lovely Être et Avoir, Philibert's documentary which charts the infinitely patient Monsieur Georges Lopez's final year of teaching in a village primary school in the Auvergne region.

Rare parrots bred at zoo after 19 years

Zoo keepers have succeeded in breeding three rare parrots after 19 years of trying. The Philippine cockatoo chicks are being hand-reared at Chester Zoo in Cheshire after they were hatched in incubators.

Endoscopy for penguin stranded in New Zealand

An Antarctic penguin which ended up stranded and eating sand on a New Zealand beach is recovering after a very human treatment - an endoscopy.

Stranded penguin is moved to zoo

After planning to let nature take its course, wildlife officials yesterday moved a stranded emperor penguin from a New Zealand beach to Wellington Zoo after its health worsened.

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Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
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Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend