News The altercation allegedly broke out during a dispute over whose turn it was to pat the park's koalas

A pleasant day out to a wildlife park reportedly turned sour when a visitor was accused of assaulting a man and threatening him with a knife – apparently because it was his turn to pat the koalas.

Two feared dead after being 'ejected' from bachelor party boat trip in alligator-infested lake

Charlie Jackson and Jason Cobb disappeared in the 'wet and stormy' early hours of Saturday morning

RSPCA denies killing too many healthy animals

The RSPCA has denied claims by one of its former inspectors that it kills more healthy animals than necessary. More than 3,400 animals were put down last year for non-medical reasons, the organisation said yesterday.

Queensland: Deadly snakes hatch in wardrobe

As three-year-old Kyle Cumming slept peacefully in his Queensland home, a clutch of wild eggs he had discovered in his backyard were incubating in his wardrobe.

Richard Sumner, left, and Julian Barnsfield at court yesterday

David Cameron's local hunt fined £26,300 for illegal fox hunting

David Cameron’s favourite fox hunt, and David Cameron's favourite huntsman, were both fined for illegal hunting today in a case which will embarrass the Prime Minister.

Books of the Year 2012: Natural history

From art to sport, poetry to nature, travel to food, history to music: our writers select the best of the year’s books in a comprehensive guide to the highlights in every shade of the literary spectrum – except grey

Fifty Shades of weird? Lemur called Christian Grey finds love with mate named Mrs Grey

A lemur named after the fictional character Christian Grey from the best-selling book Fifty Shades Of Grey has met a love interest.

Credo: Professor Alice Roberts

‘Am I the new David Attenborough? Those shoes will never be filled’

Anna Ryder Richardson wildlife park fined after falling tree bough hospitalised three-year-old boy

A wildlife park run by TV star Anna Ryder Richardson and her husband has been fined £70,000 for health and safety breaches.

Backyard twitchers chart decline of 44m birds

Britain's bird population has plummeted by 44 million in four decades, according to a study carried out with the help of volunteer ornithologists.

Red kite: Once abundant across much of the UK, this spectacular bird of prey is making its way back thanks to a series of highly successful reintroduction projects. Up 575 per cent to 1,600 pairs
(1995-2010 figures)

Backyard ornithologists chart disappearance of 44m birds

The UK's bird population has plummeted by 44 million in four decades, according to a study carried out with the help of volunteer ornithologists.

BP settlement a boon to conservation group

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation has operated on a modest budget in relative obscurity for nearly three decades. Then it won the lottery.

Man caught smuggling 600 deadly cobras into Thailand

Thai authorities have seized a pickup truck full of deadly cobras at a checkpoint in the country's central region. They believe the snakes came from Malaysia and were destined for a third country for use in traditional medicine or human consumption.

TV star Anna Ryder Richardson sobs as husband admits safety breach which put a mother and child in hospital

TV star Anna Ryder Richardson sobbed into her husband's chest today after he admitted serious health and safety breaches which put a mother and her young child in hospital.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said it would not be possible to eradicate a disease which is threatening to devastate the UK's ash trees

Urgent action is needed to up UK's defences against plant diseases like fungus killing ash trees, says Environment Secretary Owen Paterson

Britain needs a radical rethink of its defences against emerging plant diseases brought in from abroad, such as the chalara fungus now threatening ash trees, the Environment Secretary, Owen Patterson, said.

‘Extinct’ animal turns up in Wales as roadside carcass proves elusive pine martens still exist

One of Britain’s rarest and most elusive animals has been found in Wales, after a hunt lasting more than 40 years – the pine marten.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee