News A meerkat peers out from beneath a rock during a stocktake

Creatures were given snacks in exchange for having their details recorded by zoo keepers

Nature Studies by Michael McCarthy: Rarity has a value all of its own

Why is rarity so prized? What deep psychological roots in us does it tap? It clearly has nothing to do with the inherent properties of a given object, as a tatty and overprinted postage stamp will have immense allure for stamp collectors, if very rare, whereas a clean and exceptionally beautiful stamp which has just been issued in its millions will carry no cachet.

Camel, By Robert Irwin

Peter O'Toole owes his life to Shagram, the "No. 1 camel" which – during the filming of Lawrence of Arabia - stood over the star after a fall as stampeding horses thundered past. Robert Irwin's erudite, droll and utterly delightful book about the life and lore of the dromedary (one hump) and Bactrian (two) abounds with details that reflect glory on a much-misundersstood animal.

Can she handle a new gorilla in her midst?

Dilemma for London Zoo after death of primate harem's dominant male

Leading article: Water of life

Where there is life there's hope. And that certainly applies to our rivers.

Humanists protest over Creationist zoo

A secular group is demanding that tourism groups stop promoting a "Creationist" zoo which questions the traditional view of evolution.

'King Newt' Ken to marry at the reptile house

Ken Livingstone and wife-to-be Emma Beal are to say their vows among the wallabies and emus of London Zoo, the capital's former mayor has revealed.

Zoo forced to shut as 30 chimps escape

Chester Zoo was evacuated this afternoon after 30 chimpanzees escaped from their enclosure. The animals found their way into a keeper area where their food is prepared at 12.40pm. More than 5,000 visitors were asked to leave the 110-acre zoo shortly afterwards, as keepers rounded up the chimps. There were no injuries to members of the public or staff and the decision was taken purely as a precautionary measure, the zoo said in a statement. "We apologise for any inconvenience this has caused to our visitors and would thank them for their full co-operation and patience," the statement said. The zoo has more than 1.3 million visitors a year and has been named by Forbes as one of the best 15 zoos in the world.

Masters and Commanders, By Andrew Roberts

Exceptional in both research and thundering narrative, this revealing book tells the story of the four key players on the Allied side in the Second World War.

Eric Simms

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London Zoo's gorilla Bobby dies

London Zoo's gorilla Bobby has died, it was announced today.

Darwin's 'beard' on show for first time

Strands of hair believed to have fallen out of Charles Darwin's beard will go on show in public for the first time tomorrow in what is expected to be a blockbuster exhibition on the Victorian naturalist.

The Zoological Society of London

In Thursday's article ' Iceland blows town hall budgets', we wrote that The Zoological Society of London, which runs London zoo, had £500,000 of its money frozen by Iceland banks. In fact The Zoological Society of London does not have any funds invested in Icelandic banks.'

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
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Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment