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.

'It nearly took my leg off': British grandfather on holiday in Australia 'grabbed shark by tail to save bathers'

A British grandfather on holiday in Australia is being hailed as a hero after he grabbed a shark by its tail and tried to drag it away from people playing at the edge of the sea.

Rugs, trophies, skulls, teeth – more than 32,000 specimens of polar bear were traded in the last decade

Britain urged to stop supporting the trade in dead polar bears

Environmentalists including Chris Packham and Bear Grylls have urged Britain to drop its support for polar bear trading – claiming that the UK's opposition to a ban has contributed to thousands of the animals being hunted for rugs, trophies and body-parts.

Open Jaw: Where readers write back

Travel in 2013

I'm always interested in where others are going – but you've missed out the whole of Brazil here. This is the country to go to in 2013: 5,000 miles of undiscovered sandy beaches with as much or as little action as you want, plus history, culture, samba, football and beautiful hidden pousadas to stay at wherever you go.

Alison McGowan

Crew rescued from stricken tug boat

Eight people have been rescued off the coast of Devon from a tug which is carrying 200 tonnes of diesel.

The moai, giant stone statues that line the Easter Island coast

This week's big questions: Can ancient tribes teach us anything? Are we doomed, like Easter Islanders, to extinction?

This week's questions are answered by Jared Diamond, an American scientist and the author of the bestselling ‘Guns, Germs, and Steel

Cooler weather brings respite in Australia - for now

Record temperatures across southern Australia cooled today, reducing the danger from scores of raging wildfires but likely bringing only a brief reprieve from the summer's extreme heat and fire risk.

Animals at risk as wildlife crime unit faces the axe over £136,000 funding

Britain's National Wildlife Crime Unit which leads the fight against the burgeoning illegal wildlife trade may be facing the axe.

The News Matrix: Friday 4 January 2013

Millions struggling to pay the rent

Peregrine falcons can be taken from the wild and sold for enormous sums for falconry - even though it's illegal

Wildlife crime unit faces extinction over funding crisis

Concern about future of crucial work preventing smuggling and cruelty against animals

Penkridge, in Staffordshire, was hit by flooding in June this year

2012 second wettest year on record

Last year was the wettest on record in England and the second wettest ever seen in the UK, the Met Office has announced.

The drilling unit Kulluk ran aground near Alaska

Shell oil drilling platform stranded in sensitive Arctic region

The multinational oil giant Shell is facing fresh criticism of its Arctic offshore oil drilling programme, after one of its platforms was left stranded in an environmentally sensitive area of the Alaskan coast.

Video: Seal who swam 50 miles along flooded river set to draw crowds

A seal believed to have swum more than 50 miles (80km) along a flooded river to a nature reserve is expected to become a visitor attraction.

Wildlife rangers captured 314 of the estuarine crocodiles in 2012, the equivalent of more than six a week in the northernmost section of the Northern Territory

Number of crocodiles in Australian waters soars

A record haul of man-eating saltwater crocodiles was removed from waterways in the "Top End" of Australia last year, confirming that numbers of the feared reptiles are ballooning.

A female rhino, with a male companion, who survived a brutal dehorning in South Africa

Rhino poaching peaks across Africa as demand for horns soars

The world is facing a new wildlife crisis with rhino and elephant poaching in Africa now running out of control, as the illicit wildlife trade booms across the globe as never before.

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

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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 17 April 2015
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...