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

Baby sloth hand fed after mother's milk dries

Keepers are giving round-the-clock treatment to the latest addition to a zoo's population after her mother became ill and could not produce enough milk to feed her.

Zoo chairman quits after 'malicious' attacks

With fewer than 2,500 giant pandas left in the wild and 312 living in captivity, every breeding pair is vital to the continued survival of the species. Little wonder that the imminent arrival in Britain of a couple with a successful reproductive history – the first pandas to be in the UK for 17 years – has been eagerly anticipated by conservationists and animal lovers.

Former adviser attacks circus animals 'failure'

The Government's failure to ban wild animals in circuses has been criticised by a former expert adviser to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Bill Callahan, Barbican Centre, London

Animals are a recurrent presence in Bill Callahan's songs. Cattle, bees, birds, buffalo and horses abound, romping through his oeuvre either literally or as strange metaphors – as in "Universal Applicant" from his new album, Apocalypse, in which a small menagerie laughs at the singer as he manages to burn his own boat with a flare gun.

Gillespie and I, By Jane Harris

The opening of Jane Harris's clever and entertaining second novel gives little indication of how dark it will become. Harriet Baxter, a cultured and refined woman approaching her 80th year, sits in her London flat in 1933 writing a memoir of events that happened in Glasgow in 1888. We are addressed directly as "Reader", as in a Victorian novel, such words as "sojourn" are used, and the writing is measured and stately. Yet a faint tinge of something wild and overwrought underlies.

Tokyo says goodbye to Molly

Molly, the world's oldest captive orang-utan, died yesterday at the age of 59 at Tokyo's Tama Zoological Park. She arrived at Ueno Zoological Gardens, also in Japan's capital, from Indonesia in 1955 aged three. In the past decade, she had become well known in the country as an artist after developing a talent for drawing with crayons.

Heads Up: The Government Inspector

Barratt's break – from Mighty Boosh to nightly boards

Investment Column: Smiths News faces structural challenges

NetPlay TV; Zoo Digital

Berlin Zoo tells loyal Knut fans to get stuffed

Plans to put the dead polar bear's carcass on display have angered followers worldwide

Virus may have killed polar bear

Berlin Zoo's celebrity polar bear, Knut, drowned after swelling of his brain caused him to collapse and fall into a pool in his enclosure, a post-mortem examination has found.

Grant Museum of Zoology: A new animal necropolis

They stare lifelessly from every shelf: platypus, slipper lobster, flying fox, penguin, pocket gopher, hagfish, tiger, tapir, koala, sea squirt, elephant, tree shrew, dodo, armadillo and thousands more. Elsewhere, 18 baby moles are crammed in a jar, like hairy gobstoppers in a sweet shop.

New Yorkers bitten by story of escaped cobra

The highly strung citizens of New York have yet another reason to feel on edge this morning: one of the world's most venomous creatures has escaped from its secure enclosure at The Bronx Zoo.

The Bargain Hunter: Kitchen essentials

Bargain Hunter regulars will be pleased to hear that Giordano Wines' incredible food, drink and kitchenware offer has returned for a third time. The offer is one of the most popular to have appeared in this column and, this time around, features eight Italian red wines, four Italian white wines, a selection of Italian delicacies (including grissini breadsticks, traditional tajarin egg noodles, cantucci biscuits, olive sauce, artichoke cream and sun-dried tomatoes with capers) and the incredible "amazing table" selection – a six-piece cook and serve dinner set decorated in a traditional Mediterranean style. The whole package is available for a staggering £59.95, including free delivery, although it continues only as long as current stocks last.

Brain problems led to Knut's death

Brain problems apparently caused the shockingly early death of Knut, Germany's four-year-old celebrity polar bear, the Berlin Zoo said Tuesday.

Zoo accused of contributing to Knut's death

Animal rights groups have sharply criticised Berlin's zoo, saying that the way the polar bear Knut was raised and held in captivity could have led to his death at such a young age.

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Prices correct as of 28 November 2014
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game