Environment Japanese fishermen transporting slaughtered dolphins in Taiji harbour; the water of the cove is red with the blood of dead animals. Locals brand criticism of the cull 'cultural imperialism'

Hundreds of dolphins are killed in a remote Japanese bay during hunting season. The town argues it is an important tradition, but conservationists maintain the bloody practice is inhumane

Lonesome George was the last remaining tortoise of his kind

The tragically early death of Lonesome George (1912-2012)

The giant tortoise's demise means his kind are extinct. Michael McCarthy pays tribute and asks which species is next

The numbers of buzzards are recovering after years of decline in Britain

Another day, another U-turn – plan for buzzard cull given the bird

Controversial plans to shotgun-blast the nests of buzzards to help out pheasant shooters were abruptly dropped by the Government yesterday, 24 hours after they were extensively highlighted and criticised in i.

The numbers of buzzards are recovering after years of decline in Britain

Buzzards free to nest in peace as minister drops shooting plans

Protected birds earn reprieve after sudden U-turn

Glyndebourne's <i>Vixen</i> is a flimsy affair

The Cunning Little Vixen, Glyndebourne, East Sussex
L'Olimpiade, St John's, Smith Square, London
Jessye Norman, Royal Festival Hall, London
Bow Down, Old Municipal Market, Brighton

Glyndebourne's dreadlocks-and-driftwood Janacek misses the Slavic touch, while Harrison Birtwistle's 'opera' is simply loathsome

Street lighting is changing insect ecosystems, study claims

Street lighting is changing insect ecosystems in towns and cities, a study has found.

Badger baiter sentenced to 23 weeks

A man who urged his dog to attack and kill badgers kept footage of the brutal fights on his phone, a court heard today.

The fortunes of Vietnam’s saola, right, contrast sharply with those of Britain’s rarest butterfly, the large blue, above, which is going from strength to strength

Antelope first seen 20 years ago is on brink of extinction

Vietnam's rare mammals may be sliding towards extinction, but Britain's rarest butterfly is going from strength to strength, a series of contrasting announcements makes clear today.

Review ordered over badger cull

A judicial review is to be held into the Government's decision to allow badgers to be killed in England to halt the spread of bovine TB.

Polar bears are 450,000 years older than we thought

Endangered predator may be particularly vulnerable to rapid climate change in Arctic, experts fear
On the write track: Robert Holman

The quiet man with a clout

As Robert Holman's touching triptych of war plays is revived at the Donmar, Paul Taylor salutes an undervalued but endlessly powerful playwright

Beastly Things, By Donna Leon

I went off Donna Leon several books ago – not enough plot, too much pasta, too much family stuff, above all, an excess of the tiresomely perfect Signorina Elettra, paragon of the Venetian cop-shop. But this is a return to form. Commissario Brunetti exerts himself with a lot more policing, plus the book is written with that depth of thought about crime and humanity that characterises the best of Leon's work.

Lee Paton and pheasants at his studio in Islington

The latest accessory for fashionistas: a stuffed animal

Inspired by a surge in interest in taxidermy, Genevieve Roberts learns to stuff a mouse called Derek... to wear as a brooch

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.

'Act now' to cut ocean damage costs

Failing to tackle climate change will damage the world's oceans to the tune of £270 billion a year by mid-century, researchers warned today.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk