Operation Wild

(Rochester, NY) – In an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at how pioneering human medicine can also transform the way to treat ailing wildlife, the three-part series Operation Wild premieres Wednesday, July 1, 2015, at 8 p.m. WXXI-TV. Filmed over 18 months in co-production with the BBC Science Department, Operation Wild follows veterinarian teams from around the world as they undertake groundbreaking operations to try to save, or at least improve, animals’ lives. 

Operation Wild tells the remarkable stories of animals in need and the dedicated caregivers who push the boundaries of veterinary medicine to help them. The three episodes span the globe and take viewers on a compelling journey:

Episode One, July 1, 8-9 p.m.: In the first part of this series, the filmmakers travel to the Wolong Giant Panda Base in South West China, where vets are using high-tech animal medicine to try to save the species. In West Africa, a gorilla called Shufai is still trying to recover from being shot in the arm by poachers when he was just a baby. A vet in Japan has invented a new kind of underwater medicine designed to look after manta rays. Audiences also glimpse the largest pop-up animal ER on the planet, created when an ancient kite festival in India causes a wildlife crisis.

Episode Two, July 8, 8-9 p.m.: Part two follows a team in South Africa who are trying to help rhino Thandi with a ground-breaking skin graft operation after poachers stole her horns. A giraffe has caught his leg in a snare and must be caught and anaesthetized in order to prevent his death. Rosemary the orangutan has micro-surgery in Borneo to try to restore her sight and give her back her freedom. At Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, viewers learn how human heart technology is being used to help our closest animal relatives, chimpanzees, prevent heart disease.

Episode Three, July 15, 8-9 p.m.: The third episode begins in the rainforest of Laos, where vets are going to attempt groundbreaking keyhole brain surgery on Champa, an endangered moon bear. In Japan, vet and inventor Dr. Keiichi Ueda has spent the last 12 years trying to improve the life of Fuji, a dolphin with no tail. Renowned reptile specialist Dr. Doug Mader tries 21st-century surgery to save the life of a prehistoric beast, and in Poland, a team of South African vets is called in to try to remove the infected tusk of a five-ton elephant, Ninio. 

Pictured: A giant panda at Ya’an Bifengxia Giant Panda base in Wolong China, a world leading panda breeding centre.

Credit: Courtesy of Helen Quinn / BBC

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