Episode 2 Operation Wild


Episode 2

Veterinary science series. Vets call on a plastic surgeon to give a rhino a skin graft operation, and Rosemary the blind orangutan has microsurgery to try to restore her sight.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to Episode 2. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

We share our world with some amazing animals

0:00:090:00:12

and sometimes they need our help.

0:00:120:00:15

When wild animals get sick it takes radical thinking,

0:00:190:00:23

extraordinary medical skills

0:00:230:00:25

and great bravery to treat them and save lives.

0:00:250:00:28

In this programme, I'll find out how dedicated vets

0:00:300:00:33

take ground-breaking medicine to animals living

0:00:330:00:36

in some of the most remote places in the world.

0:00:360:00:38

I know.

0:00:400:00:41

And vet Steve Leonard will see how advances in human medicine

0:00:420:00:47

are transforming the way we look after animals.

0:00:470:00:50

This is real bionic stuff. It's amazing.

0:00:500:00:53

These are stories of ingenuity, innovation and dedication.

0:00:540:00:58

From giving Thandi the first ever rhino skin graft

0:01:010:01:05

after poachers took her horns...

0:01:050:01:07

We have to find a way that allows her to live a normal life again.

0:01:070:01:12

..to restoring a blind orangutan's sight to give her back her freedom.

0:01:120:01:16

This is big animal medicine as you've never seen it before.

0:01:180:01:22

It's dawn in South Africa...

0:01:460:01:48

..where animals are free to roam

0:01:500:01:52

on millions of acres of protected wilderness.

0:01:520:01:55

I'm joining a team getting ready to look for white rhino.

0:01:580:02:02

This iconic animal is under threat from poachers who steal their horns.

0:02:030:02:08

For one of the few survivors, specialist wildlife vet Will Fowlds

0:02:150:02:19

is planning the world's first rhino skin graft.

0:02:190:02:22

But right now this team is going to try to protect

0:02:240:02:27

the herd on this reserve

0:02:270:02:28

with a new experimental anti-poaching technique.

0:02:280:02:31

We're heading off into the bush to try and flush the rhinos

0:02:380:02:41

out of the trees that they're hiding in and get them into an open space.

0:02:410:02:45

First, they need to dart the rhino to sedate it.

0:02:560:03:00

There's a group of three just over on the right, in fact, four rhinos.

0:03:040:03:08

Charles has shot the dart.

0:03:170:03:21

Now we've got three minutes

0:03:210:03:23

before the anaesthetic takes effect

0:03:230:03:24

to make sure the rhino is up in open ground.

0:03:240:03:27

The pilot herds the other rhino away,

0:03:340:03:36

so the vets can get on with their work

0:03:360:03:39

to make the horn worthless to poachers.

0:03:390:03:41

This is using the helicopter like a sheepdog.

0:03:430:03:46

It's a perfect spot, really good access all around here.

0:03:490:03:53

Come on. Push, push.

0:04:030:04:05

As soon as the rhino is down, the team cover his eyes

0:04:070:04:09

and ears to try to reduce the stress.

0:04:090:04:12

One, two, three. One, two three.

0:04:140:04:19

This is quite normal for them.

0:04:230:04:25

They shake like this quite a bit in the beginning.

0:04:250:04:27

He will settle down as soon as the drugs start to...to have an effect.

0:04:270:04:30

Rhino horn is an ingredient in some Eastern medicines

0:04:330:04:36

and fetches more on the black market than gold,

0:04:360:04:40

but it's just made of the same protein as our hair and fingernails.

0:04:400:04:43

So, this is what everybody's after.

0:04:470:04:49

This, some people believe, has health-improving qualities

0:04:510:04:56

and they would kill an animal like this

0:04:560:04:59

to get hold of...

0:04:590:05:01

powdered shavings of its horn.

0:05:010:05:03

This is the only desirable aspect of a rhino's horn,

0:05:080:05:12

this hard keratinised area,

0:05:120:05:15

so everything below that is absolutely useless to them

0:05:150:05:18

and yet sadly, they come in and they hack away at their faces

0:05:180:05:24

just to ensure that they get every, single piece of horn out.

0:05:240:05:27

To protect this rhino, they pump red dye into his horn

0:05:290:05:33

under high pressure.

0:05:330:05:34

It's completely painless and the dye can't ever be removed.

0:05:370:05:40

The secret formula contains a pesticide,

0:05:420:05:45

which won't harm the rhino, but is poisonous for us to eat.

0:05:450:05:49

This is what it looks like after it's been treated

0:05:490:05:52

and it stinks. I mean, it smells very, very strong

0:05:520:05:55

like, um like a really nasty paint

0:05:550:05:59

or creosote and you really, really wouldn't want to eat that.

0:05:590:06:05

And the dye shows up in airport scanners,

0:06:140:06:17

so the poachers will be discovered

0:06:170:06:18

if they try to smuggle the treated horns out of the country.

0:06:180:06:22

It is so extraordinary to be with this group of people,

0:06:250:06:27

who are so focused and if you care about animals, and I do,

0:06:270:06:33

you feel like they're doing something that matters.

0:06:330:06:36

They've been packing up the gear

0:06:430:06:45

because he will be given a reversal drug

0:06:450:06:47

and when he is given that drug, we have two minutes to get out of here

0:06:470:06:50

before he comes round.

0:06:500:06:51

More than a thousand rhino were killed by poachers last year,

0:07:000:07:05

so signs will be posted to warn that these rhino have been treated.

0:07:050:07:09

And that is one happy customer.

0:07:100:07:13

And the team hope that these as well as word of mouth

0:07:130:07:17

will help keep this herd safe.

0:07:170:07:19

Few rhino survive the poachers, but to treat one who did,

0:07:300:07:35

Will is attempting to bring pioneering surgery into the bush.

0:07:350:07:39

He helped save a young rhino who'd been brutally attacked.

0:07:470:07:50

She must be incredibly resilient just to have made it this far?

0:07:550:07:59

Yeah, like, her recovery initially was nothing short of a miracle.

0:07:590:08:02

You know, the state that we found her in...

0:08:020:08:05

Erm, the impress...the first impressions we had

0:08:050:08:07

was that she needed to be put to sleep, that's how bad she was.

0:08:070:08:10

But Will managed to get Thandi through the worst

0:08:130:08:16

and has been checking up on her ever since.

0:08:160:08:18

There, there, see?

0:08:250:08:27

-There she is.

-There she is.

0:08:270:08:28

They've just crossed the road. That's her.

0:08:280:08:31

That's her, yeah.

0:08:310:08:33

It's such a thrill when I see her, every time.

0:08:330:08:36

-Look and there's a little calf.

-Little baby, yeah.

0:08:360:08:39

You can see how the...

0:08:390:08:40

So, she's kind of palled up with another girl?

0:08:400:08:42

She has, yeah. You can see, erm, just the relationship

0:08:420:08:46

between the three of them, you know? They...they're really close.

0:08:460:08:49

I'm so relieved that she's giving us a good look at her.

0:08:500:08:53

Even though it's over a year since Thandi was attacked,

0:08:570:09:00

the wound on her face is still looking raw.

0:09:000:09:03

It's just a horrific thing for any human being to do...

0:09:050:09:09

..to another living thing.

0:09:110:09:13

To help her, Will is going to try reconstructive surgery.

0:09:140:09:18

The plan now with Thandi is, erm, to do a skin graft.

0:09:200:09:24

And has a skin graft ever been done on a rhino before?

0:09:240:09:27

This is the first time that we will ever attempt to do a skin graft

0:09:270:09:30

of this nature to a rhino's face.

0:09:300:09:33

It is ground-breaking stuff.

0:09:330:09:34

Will hopes that this cutting-edge operation will allow Thandi

0:09:360:09:39

to live a normal rhino life

0:09:390:09:41

and perhaps, one day, have a calf of her own.

0:09:410:09:44

It's such an adventurous, ambitious plan

0:09:450:09:48

and I just hope that it comes off

0:09:480:09:50

cos it would really make a difference.

0:09:500:09:52

This is America's third largest city, Chicago.

0:10:090:10:13

Here, they're transferring human medicine from the hospitals

0:10:150:10:19

straight into the zoos.

0:10:190:10:20

Lincoln Park Zoo is at the forefront of veterinary science...

0:10:230:10:27

..and I'm here to find out how the vets are protecting

0:10:300:10:33

our closest relatives, chimpanzees.

0:10:330:10:36

Recent research has shown that some chimps can carry

0:10:400:10:43

a really nasty heart disease that can sit undetected for many years,

0:10:430:10:47

but then suddenly prove to be fatal.

0:10:470:10:49

That happened here. A chimpanzee died unexpectedly

0:10:520:10:57

and when head vet Dr Katherine Gamble discovered

0:10:570:11:00

a hidden heart disease, she was determined to find out

0:11:000:11:03

what caused it.

0:11:030:11:05

She started to look at the chimps' diet and exercise...

0:11:060:11:09

..but she also suspected something else might be involved.

0:11:120:11:15

It's not simple at all being a chimp,

0:11:180:11:20

I mean this is a social structure that's very complex

0:11:200:11:23

and often involves multiple males and one group of females

0:11:230:11:27

and so, you know, that's going to produce some squabbling, for sure.

0:11:270:11:31

Katherine wanted to find out

0:11:310:11:33

if something that affects our hearts, stress,

0:11:330:11:36

could be affecting theirs,

0:11:360:11:38

but more than that she needed an early warning system

0:11:380:11:42

to tell her if her chimps were developing heart disease.

0:11:420:11:45

She had to find a way of checking their hearts all day, every day

0:11:490:11:54

and she found the answer was to use heart monitors.

0:11:540:11:58

Today, a new member of the troop,

0:12:010:12:04

22-year-old Magadi, is about to be fitted with hers.

0:12:040:12:07

This device is put under the skin.

0:12:100:12:13

It's an implant and it's wireless.

0:12:130:12:15

I take it this wasn't specifically designed for chimps, though?

0:12:150:12:18

No, it's actually designed for humans and they use it all the time

0:12:180:12:21

in people that they're monitoring their hearts,

0:12:210:12:23

the exact same way we monitor chimps.

0:12:230:12:25

We don't have to adjust it at all.

0:12:250:12:26

Once Magadi's asleep, she's taken into theatre.

0:12:290:12:33

Katherine is going to put the heart monitor into a layer of muscle

0:12:390:12:42

just beneath her skin.

0:12:420:12:43

We just slide that up into a muscle pocket that I've just created

0:12:460:12:50

using my finger.

0:12:500:12:51

OK.

0:12:530:12:55

The device actually has to be programmed

0:13:030:13:05

for each individual animal

0:13:050:13:07

and so right now, the device is going to be programmed

0:13:070:13:11

-specifically for Magadi.

-Oh, wow!

0:13:110:13:14

To do that, they hold a reader over the monitor.

0:13:150:13:18

This will also pick up the information

0:13:180:13:20

about her heart wirelessly, so it can be downloaded to a computer.

0:13:200:13:24

That's incredible that it's actually in there.

0:13:270:13:29

It's only been in seconds

0:13:290:13:30

and it's already giving us Magadi's heartbeat.

0:13:300:13:33

This is real bionic stuff. It's amazing, absolutely incredible.

0:13:350:13:39

A few stitches and it's hidden.

0:13:410:13:44

-I can't even see the outline of the implant here.

-No.

0:13:480:13:51

Considering what it's doing, it is utterly astounding

0:13:510:13:54

that it's that small

0:13:540:13:55

and I can barely feel it underneath the tissue, which is important

0:13:550:13:58

because that means it's sort of cushioned away.

0:13:580:14:00

So, if I can't really feel it, she won't be able to.

0:14:000:14:03

The information recorded on the monitor

0:14:210:14:24

needs to be downloaded every couple of weeks.

0:14:240:14:26

The amazing thing is, it's all done voluntarily.

0:14:310:14:34

They're just coaxed up and trained to present their chest

0:14:340:14:38

to the reader and she does it just for fruit. It's great.

0:14:380:14:42

Ultimately, this is a life-saver.

0:14:450:14:48

If the vet spots something wrong, they'll now be able to act in time.

0:14:490:14:53

And as more zoos around the world use heart monitors,

0:14:590:15:02

they'll be able to share what they discover

0:15:020:15:05

and work out which changes in lifestyle

0:15:050:15:08

could make a big difference to keeping apes healthy.

0:15:080:15:11

Borneo, it's home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world.

0:15:290:15:32

And as unlikely as it seems, this is going to be the setting

0:15:380:15:41

for specialist microsurgery to help a blind orangutan see again.

0:15:410:15:47

We've been travelling for hours along the river

0:15:480:15:51

deeper and deeper into the rainforest,

0:15:510:15:53

now surrounded by thickness of trees and the noises of the jungle

0:15:530:15:56

and we're going here to see a sanctuary

0:15:560:15:58

that looks after hundreds of orangutans.

0:15:580:16:01

One of them is having ground-breaking surgery,

0:16:010:16:03

the sort of operation that normally only you or I would have.

0:16:030:16:06

The Orangutan Foundation International Care Centre

0:16:110:16:14

is set in an area of protected rainforest.

0:16:140:16:17

Amazing how human their faces are.

0:16:270:16:30

That one on the right looks like Jeremy Clarkson, I swear.

0:16:300:16:33

The Care Centre is run by orangutan expert Dr Birute Galdikas.

0:16:360:16:40

As well as orphans, she takes in ill and injured animals.

0:16:430:16:47

I have to wear a mask to protect these youngsters from germs.

0:16:470:16:51

Hi, Joe.

0:16:530:16:55

With these juveniles, are they all rescued?

0:16:560:16:59

Yeah, their mothers were killed

0:16:590:17:01

and they were taken as people's pets to be sold on the black market

0:17:010:17:06

-and some of them come in in a terrible condition.

-Really?

0:17:060:17:10

Erm, so sometimes it takes a while to get them back into

0:17:100:17:15

being feisty, frisky orangutan juveniles.

0:17:150:17:20

Playing helps them to develop skills like foraging and nest building,

0:17:240:17:29

so when they're older, they can live in the rainforest.

0:17:290:17:32

It's just like being around children

0:17:340:17:36

but without the noise cos there's no screaming.

0:17:360:17:39

I know!

0:17:390:17:40

No, no, no, you're not to be biting.

0:17:400:17:42

Well, no, she's playing, that's play fighting.

0:17:420:17:46

Birute and her team have released hundreds of orangutans

0:17:550:17:58

into the wild over the last 40 years...

0:17:580:18:00

..but one had to be brought back.

0:18:020:18:04

This is Rosemary. She's developed cataracts

0:18:090:18:12

and now she's virtually blind.

0:18:120:18:15

It's affected not just Rosemary,

0:18:210:18:23

but also her daughter, who's called Rodney.

0:18:230:18:26

At seven years old, she should be getting ready to leave her mother.

0:18:260:18:29

The problem is that Rosemary will not allow Rodney

0:18:310:18:34

to leave the cage, so poor Rodney has been forced by her mother

0:18:340:18:39

to stay with her.

0:18:390:18:41

It's like Rosemary needs the security of her daughter Rodney...

0:18:410:18:46

to be happy.

0:18:460:18:48

Rosemary's only hope is to have a pioneering operation

0:18:480:18:52

to try to restore her sight.

0:18:520:18:54

Rodney is sacrificing her own freedom for her mother's freedom

0:18:550:18:59

because her mother could not be free

0:18:590:19:02

until she has the eye operation.

0:19:020:19:03

Rosemary's surgery will be performed by animal eye surgeon

0:19:120:19:15

Dr Izak Venter from South Africa.

0:19:150:19:18

He's brought his team

0:19:220:19:23

and all his equipment into the rainforest for tomorrow's operation.

0:19:230:19:27

If he's successful, Rosemary can look forward to a future of freedom.

0:19:350:19:39

If not, she'll have to spend the rest of her days in the Care Centre

0:19:410:19:45

with or without her daughter Rodney.

0:19:450:19:47

In South Africa, vet Will Fowlds has assembled a team to perform

0:20:080:20:12

the first ever rhino skin graft on Thandi.

0:20:120:20:15

Today's quite an important day.

0:20:220:20:25

What we're trying to do is get her face more capable

0:20:250:20:28

of coping with normal rhino social behaviour.

0:20:280:20:31

Rhinos use their horns as part of their courting behaviour,

0:20:330:20:36

which is why her wound keeps opening up.

0:20:360:20:38

Will has called in a plastic surgeon to help the vets,

0:20:410:20:44

Dr Alastair Lamont.

0:20:440:20:46

We make holes in people when we cut cancers out

0:20:470:20:50

and we do skin grafts to patch the hole,

0:20:500:20:52

so this is routine for me, you know?

0:20:520:20:53

The problem is to do it on a rhinoceros.

0:20:530:20:55

First, the team has to find Thandi and dart her.

0:21:020:21:05

Once she's down, they'll have just one hour

0:21:320:21:34

to take the skin grafts and attach them.

0:21:340:21:36

Thandi's so heavy, she could crush her internal organs

0:21:480:21:52

if she stays in the same position for too long.

0:21:520:21:54

What we do with an animal like Thandi is, we need to keep

0:21:590:22:02

her level of...levels of anaesthetic as light as possible

0:22:020:22:05

and we're literally just keeping her down enough

0:22:050:22:07

so that the surgeons at the front here can work with her

0:22:070:22:10

without putting their lives in danger.

0:22:100:22:12

Alastair and the vets are going to try

0:22:190:22:21

three different kinds of skin graft today...

0:22:210:22:23

..but Alastair is used to our skin

0:22:250:22:27

and Thandi's is very different.

0:22:270:22:29

Our dermis varies from about a fifth of a millimetre

0:22:300:22:33

to three millimetres.

0:22:330:22:35

The rhinoceros have five to 20 millimetres in thickness,

0:22:350:22:39

so it's a massive thick bit of protective fibrous issue,

0:22:390:22:42

which is very difficult to manage. It doesn't bend or yield.

0:22:420:22:46

He starts by removing a very thin layer of skin

0:22:480:22:51

from behind Thandi's ear.

0:22:510:22:52

OK, now, stuck to the bottom of that are islands of skin, you see?

0:22:580:23:03

Put that onto... Where do you want the graft, guys?

0:23:030:23:06

He hopes that these little pieces of skin will start to grow

0:23:060:23:10

and in time, join up with each other.

0:23:100:23:12

His second technique is to transplant

0:23:130:23:16

a single thicker piece of Thandi's skin.

0:23:160:23:18

This is better quality skin. If it takes, it'll give much better cover.

0:23:190:23:22

The final graft is made using some of the tougher skin

0:23:220:23:25

found near the edge of her wound.

0:23:250:23:27

All Will's hopes for Thandi are resting

0:23:300:23:32

on the success of this operation.

0:23:320:23:35

They are such gentle animals, you wouldn't believe it

0:23:380:23:40

when you look at the thickness of their skins

0:23:400:23:42

and...and the horns that they wear on them.

0:23:420:23:44

They really are soft creatures by nature.

0:23:440:23:47

And yeah, this is one very, very special lady.

0:23:470:23:52

Erm, and...

0:23:520:23:54

if anything had to happen to her, I...I don't know what I would do.

0:23:540:23:58

Time is running out

0:24:000:24:01

and Alastair's struggling to attach the final skin graft.

0:24:010:24:05

Lawrence, can we just move her onto her left leg for a bit

0:24:050:24:09

to get some circulation going through the right leg?

0:24:090:24:12

QUIET CHATTER

0:24:120:24:14

One, two, three.

0:24:140:24:16

Will is so worried that Thandi's legs might be getting squashed

0:24:160:24:19

that he stops the operation to reposition her.

0:24:190:24:22

She's been on her legs now for just under 45 minutes,

0:24:320:24:36

so we have shuffled her around a bit.

0:24:360:24:38

We have stimulated the circulation,

0:24:380:24:40

but we do need to get her up in the next five minutes.

0:24:400:24:42

It's all very well having a human being and say to him,

0:24:440:24:47

"Listen, you need to rest in bed for a few days."

0:24:470:24:49

That doesn't work for rhinos. They want to get back into the mud.

0:24:490:24:52

The grafts are finally in place,

0:24:520:24:54

but Thandi's been asleep for a bit longer than Will hoped.

0:24:540:24:58

The next five minutes are important,

0:24:580:25:00

erm, and we'll only breathe a sigh of relief when she gets up

0:25:000:25:02

and we can see her walking OK.

0:25:020:25:04

Ah, it's amazing to see her stand.

0:25:190:25:21

She's OK and her legs are working OK.

0:25:230:25:25

The team will have to wait to find out which, if any,

0:25:280:25:31

of the skin grafts survive Thandi's life in the bush.

0:25:310:25:34

Wild animals can mask symptoms that they're unwell.

0:25:520:25:55

It's a survival tactic.

0:25:550:25:57

If they appear weak, they're more likely to be attacked.

0:26:000:26:03

This can make it very difficult

0:26:080:26:10

for vets to discover exactly what's wrong.

0:26:100:26:12

But nowadays, they can use hi-tech diagnostic equipment

0:26:180:26:21

to help them.

0:26:210:26:22

And that's exactly what Dee needs.

0:26:290:26:32

Go fetch.

0:26:320:26:33

She's a seven-year-old Cape fur seal

0:26:340:26:37

and lives in a zoo in Pretoria, South Africa.

0:26:370:26:41

In the bucket. Good girl, Dee Dee.

0:26:410:26:44

Elsie Breednam has been looking after her

0:26:440:26:46

for the last couple of years.

0:26:460:26:48

She's like my little girl.

0:26:480:26:51

She is a little girl still.

0:26:510:26:52

She's a very young female and, erm, she's very special.

0:26:520:26:57

Although anyone else might think that Dee is behaving normally,

0:26:570:27:01

Elsie's concerned.

0:27:010:27:03

She's noticed Dee has a runny nose

0:27:030:27:06

and her right eye looks infected.

0:27:060:27:08

No-one can work out what's causing it, so the zoo's head vet

0:27:100:27:13

Adrian Tordiffe has decided to take her for a scan.

0:27:130:27:17

I guess we could be a little bit carefree about this.

0:27:170:27:19

You know, it's just a little bit of a discharge from the nostril.

0:27:190:27:23

But the issue is that it really

0:27:230:27:25

could actually be something quite severe

0:27:250:27:27

and we really want to kind of nip it in the bud if we can.

0:27:270:27:30

Dee needs to be sedated for the journey...

0:27:320:27:34

..but seals have a very long soft palate at the roof of their mouth

0:27:360:27:39

and while Dee's anaesthetised, it could collapse and suffocate her.

0:27:390:27:44

OK, I need somebody to hold her, yeah?

0:27:440:27:47

Adrian puts a tube directly into her windpipe to keep it open.

0:27:470:27:51

He'll give her gas to breathe and keep her asleep on the way.

0:27:510:27:55

If she actually holds her head in that position,

0:27:570:28:00

she actually breathes a whole lot better.

0:28:000:28:01

One, two, three.

0:28:050:28:07

Dee's driven across town to The University Veterinary Hospital.

0:28:090:28:13

It's up to vet Herot Steenkamp to find out

0:28:260:28:29

exactly what Dee's mysterious illness is.

0:28:290:28:32

Just get her nice and straight.

0:28:320:28:34

and he can turn to the kind of equipment

0:28:340:28:36

that's more at home in our hospitals, a CT scanner.

0:28:360:28:39

He'll take a series of X-rays to build up

0:28:420:28:44

a detailed image of the inside of her head.

0:28:440:28:47

Those are the two eyes.

0:28:500:28:54

As we go back...

0:28:540:28:57

and that's where the brain starts, up there.

0:28:570:28:59

But then he spots something.

0:29:010:29:03

All of this tissue, yeah, is that normal?

0:29:050:29:08

At this stage, I don't have any indication

0:29:080:29:10

if this is a tumour or is it just an accumulation of mucus?

0:29:100:29:15

He needs to pinpoint exactly where it is

0:29:160:29:20

and to do that he builds up a 3D image of Dee's skull.

0:29:200:29:25

We can rotate this all the way around

0:29:250:29:28

and it's still there in the nose itself.

0:29:280:29:32

There are many causes for soft tissue masses like that,

0:29:340:29:38

so at this moment in time we have an idea where the problem is,

0:29:380:29:41

but we don't know exactly what the problem.

0:29:410:29:43

There's a chance it could be a tumour.

0:29:450:29:47

Ready? One, two, three.

0:29:470:29:48

The only way to find out is for Herot to take a biopsy.

0:29:520:29:55

To reach the mass he uses an endoscope.

0:29:580:30:01

That in the centre of the picture now

0:30:040:30:06

is what I think is the mass

0:30:060:30:08

at the right angle and also the right depth.

0:30:080:30:12

So...

0:30:120:30:14

With the endoscope's tiny cutters, he takes tissue samples,

0:30:140:30:18

which will be sent off to be examined.

0:30:180:30:20

While she's asleep, he checks Dee for anything else

0:30:250:30:29

that could have caused the mass

0:30:290:30:31

and he discovers that some of her teeth are badly decayed.

0:30:310:30:36

Around this canine, the pulp's exposed,

0:30:360:30:38

so I think that needs to come out.

0:30:380:30:41

Decay means bacteria and that could cause a severe infection...

0:30:410:30:46

..but it's the possibility of a tumour that's worrying Adrian.

0:30:480:30:52

The samples that we've now collected are going to the pathologist.

0:30:520:30:55

Erm, that's going to take at least two or three days

0:30:550:30:58

before we get the actual results and then they will be able to tell us

0:30:580:31:01

what kind of lump it is and then based on that we can then

0:31:010:31:05

decide on the treatment, erm, going forward.

0:31:050:31:07

It'll be an anxious wait for the team until they know

0:31:120:31:15

whether Dee has an infection or something far worse.

0:31:150:31:18

OK, sweetheart.

0:31:200:31:22

For now, it's back to the zoo with a course of antibiotics.

0:31:220:31:26

In Borneo, Rosemary the orangutan is about to undergo pioneering surgery

0:31:420:31:47

to replace the lenses in her eyes and hopefully restore her sight.

0:31:470:31:51

I hope that eventually, we can return her and her daughter,

0:31:530:31:59

Miss Rodney, back to the forest.

0:31:590:32:02

It'd be great for Rosemary,

0:32:020:32:04

but it would be even better for her daughter.

0:32:040:32:06

Will that work?

0:32:180:32:20

Dr Izak Venter, a leading animal eye surgeon,

0:32:200:32:23

has come from South Africa to treat her,

0:32:230:32:27

but first he has to set up a hi-tech operating theatre

0:32:270:32:30

in this remote rainforest location.

0:32:300:32:33

This will be only the second time he's attempted

0:32:380:32:40

to replace the lenses in an orangutan's eye.

0:32:400:32:44

I hope I haven't missed anything and to hope for the best.

0:32:440:32:47

Rosemary may be about to have radical microsurgery,

0:32:490:32:52

but she'll be sedated in a very traditional way

0:32:520:32:56

by blow pipe.

0:32:560:32:58

QUIET CHATTER

0:33:040:33:09

Before Izak can start the operation to replace Rosemary's lenses,

0:33:140:33:18

he needs to make sure that her eyes aren't already too damaged.

0:33:180:33:22

So he has to test her retinas,

0:33:240:33:26

the part of her eyes which are sensitive to light.

0:33:260:33:29

Could we get the lights, please, mate? Thanks.

0:33:330:33:37

OK. That's fine. What we're going to do is stimulate the eye with light.

0:33:400:33:44

If Rosemary's eye can be saved, they'll get a signal.

0:33:460:33:50

But there's no reading.

0:33:520:33:54

SHE SIGHS

0:33:540:33:56

Rosemary will always be blind in this eye.

0:33:560:33:59

Unless he gets a better result in her right eye,

0:34:030:34:06

Izak won't be able to do the operation.

0:34:060:34:08

-Yeah, the right eye looks good.

-Great.

0:34:110:34:13

Terrific, one eye can be done.

0:34:150:34:17

ORANGUTAN SNORES

0:34:170:34:18

You can snore. Jeez!

0:34:180:34:21

Everything now depends on Izak's microsurgery skills

0:34:240:34:28

to replace the lens in Rosemary's one good eye.

0:34:280:34:31

OK.

0:34:310:34:32

I can clearly see the cataract in her eye.

0:34:360:34:38

The pupil should be black

0:34:380:34:41

and in this case, the pupil is white and that's the opaque lens.

0:34:410:34:44

He starts by making a tiny incision of just over three millimetres.

0:34:470:34:51

All his instruments will have to fit into this cut

0:34:510:34:54

as well as the new lens.

0:34:540:34:56

Yeah, looks good.

0:34:560:34:58

Next, Izak has to squeeze a new lens made of acrylic

0:34:580:35:01

into Rosemary's eye.

0:35:010:35:03

It's now in. Now, I'm just going to fiddle to get it in position.

0:35:040:35:07

Great, that's it.

0:35:100:35:11

The high precision surgery has taken just over an hour.

0:35:130:35:17

Now, Rosemary can be reunited with her daughter, Rodney.

0:35:170:35:21

She's probably going to be able to distinguish light

0:35:240:35:26

and dark straight away, but distinct, clear vision,

0:35:260:35:29

that...that may take a while.

0:35:290:35:31

We don't know exactly when that will return.

0:35:310:35:33

Birute will have to wait

0:35:430:35:45

until Izak can come back in a few months' time to find out

0:35:450:35:48

how successful Rosemary's surgery has been.

0:35:480:35:51

Although a lot of human medicine can be adapted to help animals,

0:36:030:36:07

when it comes to anaesthetising them,

0:36:070:36:09

their different shapes and sizes

0:36:090:36:11

can give vets unique challenges.

0:36:110:36:14

One, two, three.

0:36:150:36:17

We've seen that under an anaesthetic a rhino can crush itself

0:36:190:36:22

through its own weight.

0:36:220:36:24

QUIET CHATTER

0:36:240:36:27

And the soft palate in a seal's mouth can relax so much,

0:36:280:36:32

it can block its airway and suffocate it.

0:36:320:36:34

In that position, she actually breathes a whole lot better.

0:36:340:36:38

But one of the most difficult animals for vets to anaesthetise

0:36:380:36:41

is the giraffe.

0:36:410:36:42

Here on a game reserve in South Africa,

0:36:510:36:54

one giraffe has stepped into a snare

0:36:540:36:56

and the loop of wire is cutting into his swollen right front leg.

0:36:560:37:00

So vet Derek Venter has been called in to try and remove it.

0:37:030:37:07

That snare can cut in through the skin

0:37:110:37:14

and then it can sever the nerves and the ligaments.

0:37:140:37:18

If that's the case, it'll just mean the death of the animal.

0:37:180:37:21

To catch the giraffe, they'll have to dart him...

0:37:250:37:28

..but they can't let him fall down.

0:37:300:37:32

He stands nearly six metres tall and if he hits his head on the ground,

0:37:320:37:37

it could kill him, and that's not Derek's only worry.

0:37:370:37:41

The big problem that we have in giraffe

0:37:420:37:45

is the fact that they are vertical animals.

0:37:450:37:47

They have to have a very strong heart

0:37:470:37:49

to pump the blood to the brain.

0:37:490:37:51

Now, if they are in a horizontal position,

0:37:510:37:54

that resistance isn't there any more.

0:37:540:37:56

The blood pressure goes so high,

0:37:560:37:58

it causes a blood vessel to rupture in the brain.

0:37:580:38:00

Adding to the danger, the anaesthetic drugs are so powerful

0:38:020:38:05

that they can stop him breathing,

0:38:050:38:07

so once they've darted him, they need to give him another drug

0:38:080:38:12

to wake him up within three minutes or he could die.

0:38:120:38:15

All right, let's do this.

0:38:170:38:19

To help him, Derek has called in a specialist giraffe capture team

0:38:240:38:28

run by Louis van Feck.

0:38:280:38:30

Giraffe is one of those kind of animals

0:38:310:38:33

that the vet can't handle alone.

0:38:330:38:35

I have a capture team. We're about ten guys

0:38:350:38:38

and they work with me on a daily basis.

0:38:380:38:41

And we rope between 50 and 100 giraffes per season.

0:38:410:38:46

First, they have to find him.

0:38:510:38:53

There it is, right in front.

0:39:050:39:08

The noise of the gun will scare him off,

0:39:110:39:14

so Derek needs to hit his target first time.

0:39:140:39:17

Keep your eyes on it. Don't lose it, don't lose it.

0:39:250:39:27

Go fast with the bike.

0:39:270:39:28

Now, the chase is on.

0:39:310:39:33

If we lose this animal and it goes down before we get to it,

0:39:390:39:43

there's a big, big chance that it might fall and injure itself

0:39:430:39:47

or actually stop breathing without anybody there to intervene,

0:39:470:39:52

so we really have to have our eyes on it now.

0:39:520:39:55

Giraffes might be big,

0:39:580:39:59

but their markings mimic the dappled light coming through the leaves

0:39:590:40:03

in the trees, completely disguising them.

0:40:030:40:05

This bush is so thick this time of the year.

0:40:100:40:13

It's extremely difficult to catch giraffe.

0:40:130:40:15

They...they are big animals,

0:40:150:40:17

but they can disappear like a needle in a haystack.

0:40:170:40:22

Let this other buggy come past.

0:40:260:40:28

There's no sign of him, so the team split up to cover more ground.

0:40:310:40:35

What started as a mission to save him could end in tragedy.

0:40:350:40:39

Then, at last, they spot him.

0:40:510:40:53

There he is.

0:40:530:40:55

HE KNOCKS ON ROOF

0:40:550:40:57

They're chasing an animal that can reach up to 35mph.

0:41:160:41:20

Let's turn around. We've got to.

0:41:220:41:25

Louis quickly injects the all-important drug,

0:41:370:41:39

which will reverse the effects of the anaesthetic.

0:41:390:41:42

We were lucky to find him walking down the road.

0:41:420:41:45

It was the right time to catch. The drug was taking effect.

0:41:450:41:50

He's now fully awake,

0:41:500:41:52

so they rope his legs and hold his powerful neck down,

0:41:520:41:56

so he can't injure himself or them.

0:41:560:41:58

OK, guys, let's go, let's go.

0:42:010:42:03

Bring the kit.

0:42:030:42:05

It's their first chance to take a close look at his bad leg.

0:42:060:42:11

The snare has been on here for quite some time,

0:42:110:42:13

but Derek will have to open it up to make sure

0:42:130:42:16

there's not something left in there.

0:42:160:42:19

It's been rotting quite a bit.

0:42:190:42:21

Here he comes.

0:42:210:42:23

OK. All right.

0:42:230:42:25

So, I just want to open it up a little bit,

0:42:280:42:30

explore it and see what's in there.

0:42:300:42:32

I suspect that there might be a piece of wire still left in here.

0:42:340:42:38

Some disinfectant, yeah?

0:42:400:42:42

Derek thinks the wound could be over three weeks old,

0:42:450:42:48

so it's become very painful.

0:42:480:42:50

Watch out.

0:42:520:42:53

Hold on, guys. Hold on, guys.

0:42:560:42:57

I've got it.

0:43:030:43:04

This is just a topical antibiotic

0:43:040:43:09

and, erm, a substance

0:43:090:43:14

that also stimulates growth.

0:43:140:43:17

The wound needs to be kept clean,

0:43:190:43:21

but a bandage wouldn't last long in the wild.

0:43:210:43:25

This is tar. It's a deterrent for flies

0:43:250:43:29

and it also keeps the wound nice and dry.

0:43:290:43:33

This works really well in field situations

0:43:330:43:37

where you cannot follow up the animal every day.

0:43:370:43:40

OK.

0:43:410:43:42

All that's left is to let him go.

0:43:450:43:48

Let's go, let's go. Get out of the way.

0:43:490:43:51

Just give him some time to adjust.

0:43:510:43:53

He's taking good weight on it

0:44:050:44:07

and hopefully within two weeks

0:44:070:44:10

that would have been healed up nicely now.

0:44:100:44:12

I've seen it many times before.

0:44:150:44:18

If you can just take out that snare without any additional treatment,

0:44:180:44:22

they heal up completely.

0:44:220:44:23

It went well. No-one got hurt, so...

0:44:260:44:30

good day.

0:44:300:44:31

At the zoo in Pretoria for most of the seals, it's life as normal.

0:44:440:44:48

But Dee has been separated from the others.

0:44:530:44:56

She has to go back to the hospital today.

0:44:560:44:59

She had a biopsy, which showed the mass in her nose wasn't a tumour.

0:44:590:45:03

OK, sweetie.

0:45:030:45:04

But they still need to find out what caused it.

0:45:060:45:08

I'm going with chief vet Adrian Tordiffe and keeper Elsie Breednam

0:45:190:45:24

as they take Dee for more tests.

0:45:240:45:26

The shorter I can have her on anaesthetic, the better.

0:45:290:45:32

Yeah, but she's really settled now, by the looks of it.

0:45:320:45:35

Yeah.

0:45:350:45:36

First of all, Herot wants to take another scan.

0:45:410:45:44

So, what's changed since the last scan, then?

0:45:480:45:51

Have we seen any...any difference?

0:45:510:45:53

What is very pleasing to see is that the mass in the nose

0:45:530:45:58

-is a lot smaller.

-Yeah.

0:45:580:45:59

And the fact that that is responding to the antibiotic treatment

0:45:590:46:02

tells me that it is coming from an infectious source like this canine.

0:46:020:46:07

Bacteria has travelled up through the holes in her teeth,

0:46:080:46:12

causing an infection, which has spread to the bone.

0:46:120:46:15

What is quite remarkable is on the opposite side of the lower canine,

0:46:150:46:20

you can see that big hole there.

0:46:200:46:22

Yeah, that's really obvious, isn't it?

0:46:220:46:24

What we saw three months ago

0:46:240:46:26

and what we see today is a marked deterioration.

0:46:260:46:28

A deterioration, yeah.

0:46:280:46:29

This scan has convinced Herot

0:46:320:46:34

that Dee's canine teeth have been causing all her trouble

0:46:340:46:38

and he'll have to take them out

0:46:380:46:41

once he's tackled the mass.

0:46:410:46:44

It's a worrying time for Dee's keeper Elsie.

0:46:470:46:50

And I have to tease it out bit by bit.

0:46:530:46:55

As he suspected, the lump is full of pus and dead tissue.

0:46:580:47:03

That's so satisfying seeing that finally come out of the nose

0:47:040:47:07

after all those months of looking at the scans

0:47:070:47:09

and not knowing what's been in Dee's nose.

0:47:090:47:12

There seems to be loads of it coming out.

0:47:150:47:17

Once it's all been removed,

0:47:190:47:21

Herot can start to work on her decayed canine teeth.

0:47:210:47:24

This is the one causing the problem

0:47:270:47:29

and as you can see, the base of that root is just full of pus.

0:47:290:47:33

That's looking really, really nasty.

0:47:330:47:35

All the other big fangs, the other big canine teeth at the front

0:47:350:47:39

are exactly the same, so they're all being removed now.

0:47:390:47:42

So she'll have a very different smile,

0:47:430:47:45

but she'll have a much nicer mouth.

0:47:450:47:47

A few weeks later, Dee's fully recovered.

0:48:070:48:11

There's just a little bit of a scar left over here, a little mark

0:48:200:48:23

and it's healed all very well, yeah.

0:48:230:48:26

And if you look into her mouth, this is where the canines used to be

0:48:260:48:31

and up here at the top and there's no sign of infection

0:48:310:48:35

and it's healed up pretty well, eh?

0:48:350:48:37

Yes. Good.

0:48:380:48:39

And she can eat big fish,

0:48:390:48:40

she can eat small fish.

0:48:400:48:42

Can eat another big fish.

0:48:420:48:45

Not a problem.

0:48:450:48:46

Making good use of some very hi tech equipment

0:48:520:48:55

helped the team diagnose exactly what was wrong with Dee

0:48:550:48:59

and nurse her back to health.

0:48:590:49:01

She's a very happy, healthy little girl at the moment.

0:49:010:49:05

I'm happy that it all went well.

0:49:060:49:08

Erm, at the end, it was worth it.

0:49:080:49:11

It's been three months

0:49:390:49:40

since vets gave Thandi the first ever rhino skin graft to try

0:49:400:49:44

to heal the wound where her horns were removed by poachers.

0:49:440:49:48

Today, vet Will Fowlds and plastic surgeon Alastair Lamont

0:49:500:49:54

will discover whether the experimental grafts are working.

0:49:540:49:58

It's dramatically better, the upper part of this face has healed.

0:49:590:50:03

Will and I think there's areas here where the grafts have taken

0:50:030:50:06

and have survived, but this part of the face,

0:50:060:50:08

which is more subject to injury,

0:50:080:50:10

it looks as if the grafts either haven't taken

0:50:100:50:13

or have been scraped off.

0:50:130:50:14

My gut feeling is that we should do nothing now.

0:50:180:50:20

Let her manage this wound herself.

0:50:200:50:22

OK, fantastic.

0:50:220:50:23

There's no infection. There's nothing spreading out of this wound.

0:50:230:50:26

It's healing from the edges

0:50:260:50:28

and to try and graft now would be pointless,

0:50:280:50:30

especially if she's going to scrape it off again.

0:50:300:50:32

Thandi seems to be putting the trauma

0:50:370:50:39

of the poaching behind her.

0:50:390:50:41

She's more confident and she's been seen mating with a bull.

0:50:450:50:50

If Thandi is pregnant, it will be the most amazing news.

0:50:530:50:58

It's been an emotional roller coaster,

0:50:580:51:00

erm, particularly the first few months.

0:51:000:51:03

To actually see her with her calf one day

0:51:050:51:08

will be the most amazing ending to a very traumatic story.

0:51:080:51:13

Will's hopes for Thandi have been realised.

0:51:250:51:29

Blood tests show she is pregnant

0:51:290:51:32

and her calf is due to be born at the end of the year.

0:51:320:51:34

In Borneo, it's been a few months since Rosemary the orangutan

0:51:550:51:59

had microsurgery to remove a cataract.

0:51:590:52:02

And I've come to find out if the operation has been a success.

0:52:060:52:10

So she doesn't pick up an eye infection,

0:52:170:52:19

she and her daughter Rodney have been staying in the medical wing.

0:52:190:52:22

Whoops.

0:52:260:52:27

So, how do you think Rosemary is since the operation?

0:52:330:52:37

Oh, she's a changed person.

0:52:370:52:39

She's much calmer.

0:52:390:52:41

She loves her baby more.

0:52:410:52:43

She's returned to what she once was before she turned blind

0:52:430:52:48

and that was a very vigorous orangutan.

0:52:480:52:52

A very energetic orangutan,

0:52:520:52:54

but one who was happy and not frustrated.

0:52:540:52:58

Were you there... Could you see the moment that she could see?

0:52:580:53:02

You know, I'm not sure the exact moment

0:53:020:53:04

that she realised that she could see,

0:53:040:53:07

but I was there when she looked around, saw her daughter

0:53:070:53:12

and she put her arms around her and kissed her on the face.

0:53:120:53:18

And in all the years of Rosemary's blindness,

0:53:200:53:23

I had never seen her do anything like that before.

0:53:230:53:26

Izak has also returned to check up on her.

0:53:320:53:35

Hey, can you see me?

0:53:380:53:41

ROSEMARY BLOWS RASPBERRIES

0:53:410:53:43

I'm happy with the fact

0:53:450:53:47

that she's managing to grab that mango fairly accurately

0:53:470:53:50

and that's a really good sign of...of functional vision.

0:53:500:53:53

Oh, good girl. Good girl.

0:53:550:53:58

-Yeah, she's...

-Yeah.

-..seen the light source.

0:54:000:54:02

You can see the pupil's nice and black,

0:54:020:54:04

so all of that means that the optic pathway to the back of the eye

0:54:040:54:07

is restored and her focal length is back to normal.

0:54:070:54:10

So, she's got pretty much normal vision in that eye.

0:54:100:54:14

So, what's the plan now with her?

0:54:140:54:15

Well, the plan is that she is going to go back to the wild

0:54:150:54:18

and there's absolutely no reason why we need to keep her

0:54:180:54:22

here any longer now that Dr Izak has verified what we thought we knew

0:54:220:54:26

and that is that her sight is back.

0:54:260:54:28

The operation was risky, but it's been successful

0:54:330:54:36

and putting a lens into Rosemary's eye has changed not just her life,

0:54:360:54:40

but also the life of Rodney here and very soon both of them

0:54:400:54:43

will be released back into the wild

0:54:430:54:45

to live the life they should be living.

0:54:450:54:47

Next time, a moon bear needs brain surgery deep in the jungle.

0:55:000:55:05

See if you can plug it directly into something.

0:55:080:55:12

Vets have to remove an elephant's giant tusk.

0:55:120:55:14

And will a prosthetic tail help Fuji the dolphin swim again?

0:55:170:55:22

In a world first, vets call on a plastic surgeon to give a rhino a skin graft operation. Plus, Rosemary the blind orangutan has microsurgery to try to restore her sight so she can see her daughter again, and a seal with a mystery illness is diagnosed using the kind of scanner usually seen in a human hospital.


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS