Environment

Scientists say a group living in the Araguaia River, Brazil has been isolated from other varieties for more than two million years

Ukrainian navy loses three 'killer' dolphins

The navy has reportedly lost three of its carefully trained “killer” dolphins. The defence ministry has denied the reports and refused to confirm that its navy uses dolphins, but the loss has been widely reported in the country, and former naval officers said dolphins often went missing during exercises to look for mates.

A year on, wreck of the Costa Concordia still threatens Tuscan coast

More time and money will be needed to remove the Costa Concordia from the rocks off Tuscany where it capsized last year, in part to ensure the toxic materials still trapped inside don't leak into the surrounding marine sanctuary when it is righted, officials said yesterday.

The Griffon vulture was fitted with a GPS transmitter

Meet operative PP0277: A secret agent – or just a vulture hungry for dead camel?

Sudan says he's an Israeli operative – but his handlers say he's too easily distracted for that. Matthew Kalman reports on a spy thriller

Dolphins like Spetz, who have been helping the US navy find mines, will be 'reassigned' as they will be replaced by robots

Robots to replace Navy's mine-hunting dolphins

Some dolphins used by the US Navy to track down mines will soon lose their jobs to robots – but they will be reassigned, not retired.

Woman who rode manatee arrested

Any lingering ill effects on the victim have long passed - but after a two month search, police have finally located the perpetrator. Ana Gloria Garcia Gutierrez, 53, the woman who illegally clambered on to and rode a manatee, was arrested Saturday. She faces a maximum of six months in jail and a fine of $500.

Rise up: Colombian humpback whale

Dreaming of whales off the Pacific coast

Chocó department, on Colombia’s Pacific coast, is one of the wettest places on Earth. It rains all the time. The small group that I was with was visiting a community tourism project, Mano Cambiada, based in the town of Nuquí. The warning that, on the boat journey to Mano Cambiada’s lodge, we might get wet was an understatement. A little short of two hours in, in our small boat on the open sea, we were drenched to the skin.

Authorities investigate after dolphins are found with gunshot wounds in Gulf of Mexico

Authorities are investigating several attacks on dolphins in the northern Gulf of Mexico after some were found with gunshot wounds, cuts and missing jaws.

A screen shot of the dolphin that was found stranded on the shore in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

Dolphin stranded in New Jersey after hurricane

A dolphin has been washed ashore by storm Sandy which made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey on Monday evening. The dolphin could be seen squirming on Point Pleasant Beach. Animal rescue officials were called.

Reuters

Editorial: If a whale spoke to us, what would it say?

Baby beluga in the deep blue sea – runs a much-loved children's song – you swim so wild and you swim so free. And now, it seems, you may be chatting to us as well.

'Who told me to get out?': NOC the talking whale learns to imitate human speech in attempt to 'reach out' to human captors

Acoustic analysis of the sounds made by a beluga whale revealed remarkable similarities to human speech patterns, indicating that the whale was trying to “reach out” to his human captors

Fittest or biggest? New Zealand fur seals, above, have been picking off Kangaroo Island's fairy penguins

Trouble at Kangaroo Island

A resurgent seal population is ganging up on the world's smallest penguin

Beached whale dies on Cornish beach despite desperate efforts by rescuers

A beached whale has died despite desperate efforts to refloat it.

Scientists continue to investigate dolphin deaths off Peru

Scientists and Peruvian officials are investigating a mass die-off of hundreds of dolphins along the South American country's coast.

Tailspin: A sperm whale dips back under the water

Into the blue of the Azores: It's even easier for whale-watchers to catch one of the planet's great spectacles

Direct flights to these Atlantic islands have resumed.

'Sabotage' forces whaling fleet to end season early

Conservationists claimed victory yesterday after Japan announced it had ended its whaling season early, having hauled less than a third of the annual target.

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Independent Travel
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona from £629pp
Dubrovnik
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Prices correct as of 12 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas