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Operation Wild

Series 1 - Episode 1

Sat 7 Mar 12pm - 1pm Eden
See Repeats
Sat 7 Mar, 6pm - 7pm Eden
Sun 8 Mar, 12am - 1am Eden
Sun 8 Mar, 3am - 3:50am Eden


Clare Balding hugs a panda cub. Steve Leonard introduces us to an Asian elephant with a bullet lodged in its foot. A wounded orphan gorilla goes under the scalpel. The images and stories in this new series are vivid and hard to resist. It’s a heart-tugging tour of veterinary advances in treating wild animals around the world with a high “Aaaah” factor and a sprinkling of science.

The point where technology bumps up against the outsized patients is fun to watch: a giant panda getting an MRI scan, for instance, or the semi-farcical scene where a vet in Laos tries using an X-ray machine borrowed from a local clinic to establish where that bullet is in the elephant’s foot, if the elephant will just keep still for a minute… But it’s the young gorilla Shufai in Cameroon whose story will touch you the most.


Broadcaster Clare Balding and vet Steve Leonard travel the world to watch vets perform innovative life-saving operations on a variety of wild animals. This first edition features a baby panda called Zhu Xia in south-west China in need of an MRI scan, and rescued gorilla Shufai in Cameroon, who was shot by poachers when he was a baby. Plus, a manta ray on the Japanese island of Okinawa is given an ultra-sound scan to determine if it's pregnant, and a four-ton elephant in Laos with a gunshot wound.

Cast & Crew

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