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Operation Wild

Series 1 - Episode 3

Today 10am - 11am Eden
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Elephant dentistry. Not something I’d given any thought to before watching this programme. We see another astounding set of animal operations, and the most astounding is when a South African dentist operates on an elephant in a Polish zoo.

The animal has a deformed, infected tusk that needs removing but the mechanics of that involve specially made drills, big hammers and, in the end, one of those winches people use to pull trucks out of mud.

It’s extraordinary to watch, as is the first story where Clare Balding watches a Japanese vet try to replace a dolphin’s lost tail. If you watch nothing else, watch that opening scene.


Clare Balding travels to Japan where she visits inventor and vet Dr Keiichi Ueda. The vet has dedicated the past 12 years of his career to helping a dolphin called Fuji who has no tail as a result of a bacterial infection and he is hoping that a new prosthetic tail will enable her to swim properly again. Steve Leonard heads to the rainforest of Laos, where Edinburgh Zoo vet Romain Pizzi is undertaking keyhole surgery on an endangered moon bear called Champa who suffers from excess fluid on her brain. Steve then visits Florida where reptile specialist Doug Mader is using the latest technology to save Martha, an alligator with a badly blocked gut. Clare and Steve also follow the stories of a Galapagos tortoise with a mystery illness, a five-ton elephant suffering from an infected tusk and a tiger that keeps having nose bleeds.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Clare Balding
Presenter Steve Leonard
Director Serena Davies
Executive Producer Helen Thomas
Series Producer Serena Davies