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Ecology and Life
The puppy room easing life's pain in a stroke
Gentle wobblings of a 'foul gull' fulmar
Frigatebird returns to nest on Ascension for first time since Darwin
New to Nature No 94: Canthigaster criobe
Uggie: 'He likes to fly first class'
It's a dog's life in China: sold for £1m or stolen and sold as meat
Malibu residents hire crew to remove rotting whale carcass from beach
Yellowstone's popular alpha female wolf shot dead by hunters outside park
What I miss most in the dead time of winter is the insects
BSE testing on cattle slaughtered for food 'no longer necessary'
Malaysia seizes 1,500 elephant tusks headed for China
The vibrant river was a welcome relief after the bleak, snow-covered fields
TV Review: Miniature Britain; Weight Loss Ward; Rome
Marine conservation group says UK lacks ambition to preserve seas
UK seas to gain 31 marine conservation zones
Live animal exports going via previously unknown routes
When a dozing otter steals the show
Newly discovered slow loris species already threatened
What the male bowerbird can teach us about home furnishings
Could this really be the fearsome, legendary Girt Dog reincarnate?
Overfishing is a solvable environmental challenge for the EU
Life comes cheap for winter wrens
Ash trees consumed by something of the night
Foie gras taken off menu in House of Lords
  Animal astronauts: the unsung heroes of space exploration
From intrepid turtles to pioneering jellyfish, a host of animals have made their mark as the unsung heroes of space exploration.

Early animal astronauts were used to test the effects of zero gravity and extreme pressure on the body, and their modern-day counterparts are used in experiments on board the International Space Station.

1948 A rhesus monkey named Albert I became the first animal to be launched in a V-2 rocket by the US. His successor, Albert II, made it to an altitude of 83 miles after his launch in 1949, but died on impact as he returned to Earth. The first monkey to survive a US rocket flight, Yorrick in 1951, took flight accompanied by 11 mice.

1954 After using mice, rabbits and rats as one-way passengers in early rocket tests, Soviet scientists began using dogs instead of monkeys in their experiments, hoping that they would move less during flights. Two dogs, Dezik and Tsygan, survived a sub-orbital flight after their capsule parachuted them back to earth.

1957 Soviet space scientists chose a stray dog, Laika, for the Sputnik 2 mission. Strays were chosen due to their strength and ability to survive in the cold. Soviet sources maintained that Laika died when her oxygen ran out on day six of the trip, but in 2002 documents revealed that she probably died after only a few hours due to overheating. A monument to Laika was unveiled in 2008.

1963 French scientists launched a cat, Felix, into space. Felix survived the trip, but a follow-up feline mission was not successful.

1966 The USSR launched two dogs into space for 21 days. Their record for the longest time spent in space was beaten by humans in 1974.

1969 After the success of the Apollo moon landings, animals began to take a back seat in space exploration. But although they no longer made headlines, animals including rabbits, frogs, snails, silkworms, bees, spiders, turtles and jellyfish ("moon jellies") were all taken into space in the 90s and beyond.

2006 The US entrepreneur Robert Bigelow launched cockroaches and Mexican jumping bean moths into orbit using an inflatable pod. He hoped the launch would be the first step towards creating a "space hotel".

2007 A study by the European Space Agency found that moss piglets, or tardigrades, a small segmented animal with eight legs, were able to survive for 10 days in open space using only their own natural protection.
New to Nature No 96: Oncopodura fadriquei
Animal rights activists plan direct action against beagle imports
How the stink of a waterbuck could prevent sleeping sickness in Kenya
Tatler's dog, Alan, dies in bizarre revolving door accident
Insecticide 'unacceptable' danger to bees, report finds
Freedom Foods 'failing to crack down' on poor salmon farming standards
One in 10 Welsh livestock farmers illegally kill badgers, study suggests
Crab study puts pain on the menu
A large shape a bittern flies across the pond
Wolf killings are based on the most cynical of premises
New to nature No 97: Ferrisia uzinuri
Sad to see the tide turn against the otter
An owl swoops down on wings that seem as broad as they are long
Animals: are they good for supper or good companions?
Is human branding an animal-rights stunt too far?
Cat lovers pounce on campaign to save New Zealand's birds
Common pesticides 'can kill frogs within an hour'
There is something irresistibly cheerful about a flock of twite
Solomon Islands villagers kill 900 dolphins in conservation dispute
Mistle thrush numbers in decline
Guyana pledges to protect jaguars
Dung beetles navigate by the stars
How do you catch an escaped crocodile?
New to Nature No 98: Xerophytacolus claviverpus
Animal astronauts: the unsung heroes of space exploration
Pygmy elephants found dead in Borneo after 'poisoning'
A badger's biscuit-sized footprints in the snow follow the field edge
British moths in calamitous decline, major new study reveals
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The lake is muted under the winter sun, like a faint watercolour painting
Should the RSPCA have pursued the man who ate a live goldfish?
Days of heavy rain have left the ancient woodland sodden
Alice Roberts: Rudolph and our early ancestors a love story
Saving the rhino with surveillance drones
Hunting with dogs ban unlikely to get free vote admit top Tories
The tracks in the snow revealed the secrets of these night visitors
A perfect winter's day for a walk
Meet the woman battling Japan's whaling fleet in Antarctic ocean
China captivated by tiny tuneful insects that sing for their supper
HBO sued by animal rights worker over abuse of horses on Luck
Some surprising facts about hedgehogs
Cats killed in cattery fire
Experience: my horse sank in quicksand
Alys Fowler: fat balls and mealworms
Hawks in danger of extinction in illegal hunting campaign
What the Japanese red bug teaches us about parenting
Fishermen back sanctions against Iceland over mackerel catch
What I learned the day a dying whale spared my life
Overfishing causes Pacific bluefin tuna numbers to drop 96%
Glistening with water droplets, the black-throated diver looked almost eerie
Kitten swallows 15cm-long TV aerial
As the rain blows over, a double rainbow arcs across the sky
A moorhen sent stone-skimmer splashes as it pattered across the river