Somewhere in Spain / 1974
Scene 1 --A somewhat middle aged man is climbing a rocky steep cliff, he doesn´t seem tired in spite of his age. A full cinematic crew follows him up carrying cameras and other filming equipment. They all assume strategic positions. The man starts to howl.
It seems as if he´s gone mad .A pack of four teenager wolfs assume from behind the rocks and run towards the man.
This must be for certain someone with suicidal tendencies inviting death, similar to a maniac tied with chains to a tree during a thunderstorm ! the wolfs are coming...As they approach the man they greet him with “spoiled puppy yells”. He gives them some treats and calls them by their names.
Slowly he turns towards the camera, and begins to talk in a calm and energetic tone with a deep Castillan accent -- THESE ARE WOLVES, AND THEY ARE VERY HUNGRY ! they could easily tear one of my hands off, but i´m pretty sure they wouldn´t do it ! The wolves are sociable animals; hierarchic animals; they have rites protocols,they do not harm their own kin or the humans that take care of them. We don´t want to apologize the wolf ! we are aware that the wolf in Spain has a very bad reputation, just like the tiger in India or the Lion in Africa.
These wolves are part of a wolf pack that allowed us to study their behavior for two all years.
We will show you the many wonderful things that we found out through the testimony of the cinematographic camera.
Afterwards you can proceed on thinking if the wolves are bad or good , i will leave that judgment to you.
Those were the words of Dr.Félix Rodriguez de la Fuente in the late and very famous TV show El hombre y la tierra that was seen all over Europe in the mid seventies.(You can see a small except of it above).
In this particular case he was educating the world about the Iberian wolf ( Canis lupus signatus )and particullary he was showing his countrymen that the wolf was a curious and amazing animal that deserved careful observation and some comprehension and not just the random killing this animal was being subjected to back in those days.
Needless to say “the message got trough”. It would be wonderful to tell you that no more wolves were killed in Spain and that the message somehow spread all over the Iberian Peninsula covering not only Spain but also Portugal and the random killing of wolves stopped there for good.
The ugly truth is the depredation of the wolf didn´t stopped but an alert was made. If today Spain and Portugal still have wolves ( very few wolves) it´s because of the initiative of men like Dr.Félix. We must be aware that back in those days speaking on behalf of the wolf was like defending the rat that was causing the black plague in the middle ages. People knew wolves by reputation. And it was an evil reputation since this wonderful animal is always depicted in folk tales as something as foul like he was Satan´s dog itself or the beast that devours little children, or the monster that engulfs sheep by the hundreds and other stupid folk tales.
And in countries like Spain ad Portugal back in the 70´s TV shows like El hombre y la tierra were a way of destroying thousands of years of mysticism and stupidity.
I saw this show in my country a few years ago after Dr.Félix died. I was 6 or 7 years old at the time.
It was because of him that i learned how much richness the Iberian Peninsula had to offer.
It was because of him that i learned that Portugal and Spain being two separate countries in language and border share a diversified microcosm of life not only in fauna but also in flora.
Later on i will tell you a few more stories about the Iberian Wolf.
Goodbye for now.