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Arts & Culture

Operation Wild

Priscilla a Galapagos tortoise, recovers at London Zoo after keyhole surgery.
Courtesy of Helen Quinn / BBC
Priscilla a Galapagos tortoise, recovers at London Zoo after keyhole surgery.

Airs Wednesdays, July 1 - 15, 2015 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Join veterinarian teams around the world as they undertake groundbreaking operations to try to save animals’ lives. Find out how pioneering human medicine is transforming ways to look after animals in some of the most remote places on earth. Witness dramatic stories of ingenuity, invention and dedication in this three-part series.


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OPERATION WILD was produced by the BBC Science Department and PBS

Episode 1 airs Wed., July 1 at 8 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 2 airs Wed., July 8 at 8 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 anesthetized 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 3 airs Wed., July 15 at 8 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.

OPERATION WILD is a BBC production for PBS. Series producer for the BBC is Serena Davies; edit producer is Helen Quinn and executive producer is Helen Thomas. For PBS, the series has been overseen by Bill Gardner, Vice President, Programming and Development and Bill Margol, Sr. Director of Programming and Development.