About the show

Saving big animals around the world...

Join the dedicated vets around the world pushing animal medicine to the limits.

In Operation Wild, animal lover Clare Balding and vet Steve Leonard join teams around the world as they undertake groundbreaking operations to try and save the lives of wild animals.

They’ll discover how pioneering human medicine is transforming the way we can look after animals in some of the most remote places on Earth.

Join them as they watch experts fit a prosthetic tail to a dolphin in Japan, treat an endangered moon bear with hydrocephalus in Laos, head to India to observe the largest pop-up animal A&E on the planet, and help a rhino in South Africa attacked by poachers for her horn by carrying out a world-first – a rhino skin graft.

These are stories of dedicated vets using the very latest medical techniques to try to save big animals around the world.

This is Operation Wild.


Operation Wild

Clare Balding

Clare Balding is a British television presenter, journalist and retired amateur jockey.

Clare started off on radio and after graduating with an English degree from Cambridge in 1994, became a trainee with BBC National Radio, working on 5 Live, Radio 1, Radio 2 and Radio 4. She made her television debut in 1995 at Royal Ascot, and in 1997, became the BBC's lead horse racing presenter.

Since then, Clare has worked on five Olympic Games, four Paralympics and three Winter Olympics, as well as continuing to present on horse racing. She’s hosted walking series Ramblings on Radio 4 since 1999, and has also worked on Britain's Hidden Heritage and Countryfile.

She’s well known for her versatility and can turn her presenting skills to any topic, earning her numerous awards like the Royal Television Society’s Sports Presenter of the Year 2003, Racing Journalist of the Year 2003, and Sports Broadcaster of the Year 2012. She was also awarded the special achievement award at the 2012 Women in Film and Television awards for her coverage of the Olympics and Paralympics.

Clare is also a bestselling author and her first book, My Animals and Other Family, based on her own childhood, went on to win biography of the year at the 2012 National Book Awards.

Operation Wild

Steve Leonard

Steve Leonard is a veterinarian and TV presenter.

It was while studying veterinary science at Bristol University Veterinary School that he was approached with a number of other final-year students to take part in a BBC production. The resulting series, Vet School, was a huge success, and Vets In Practice swiftly followed suit. Steve went on to present Vets In The Wild with Trude Mostue, while holding down a full-time job at a veterinary practice in Lancaster.

In 1999 Steve quit full-time veterinary employment and took to travelling round the world instead, filming with the BBC Natural History Unit to produce the series Ultimate Killers in 2001. Not one to shy away from danger, Steve took part in many stunts, such as tandem skydiving out of a balloon at 10,000 feet over Spain and climbing into an eagle's eyrie in Panama.

Since then Steve has presented numerous shows including Extreme Animals, Animal Camera, Journey of Life, Incredible Animal Journeys and Orangutan Diary.

During the filming of Return to Vets in Practice in 2008, he announced that he was returning to veterinary practice full-time. But his presenting days are far from over and Steve still finds the time to appear in front of the camera!

Get it on...

South African audiences have access to five BBC TV channels: BBC Brit, BBC Lifestyle, BBC Earth, CBeebies and BBC World News.