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Operation Wild

Series 1 - Episode 2



The tensest scene in this episode involves trying to anaesthetise a giraffe. When you think about it, darting a giraffe in the wild is a tricky business. Apart from anything else, the animal needs enormous blood pressure to pump blood vertically up to its head from its heart – if it stays horizontal for too long, blood vessels can rupture.

So getting the snare off the leg of this particular giraffe will need to be a quick operation, done with the help of a specialist giraffe capture team. (Who knew that was even a job?) Elsewhere, a blind orangutan needs a cataract operation (not easy to watch) and we see the world’s first rhino skin graft.


Clare Balding travels to South Africa to join a veterinary team trying to help a rhino called Thandi who was attacked by poachers for her horn. For the first time, a plastic surgeon will attempt a skin graft on the animal to heal the wound. She also visits the rainforest of Borneo to follow the story of an orangutan who needs cataracts removing from her eyes so that she can be released back into the wild. Elsewhere, vet Steve Leonard takes a trip to Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo, where the latest technology is being used to help chimpanzees with heart disease and visits the South African city of Pretoria, where a Cape fur seal requires a CT scan to identify the root cause of her illness, before witnessing a giraffe being anaesthetised to treat a leg injury.

Cast & Crew

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