here have been many stories as well as legends throughout history about babies or children grown by wolves or other species of canids. However, here we have a true story that has been told by the actual boy (now an old man) who was raised by wolves from the age of seven when he was totally abandoned by his carers. This story truly shows that humans can, in some instances, be more cold-hearted than predatory animals.
A rough childhood
Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja was born in the south of Spain in a city place called Córdoba, in 1946. His mother sadly died when he was only three years old. This left him to be raised by an alcoholic and abusive father that beat him every time he cried. Two years after his mother’s death, his father got remarried, but his stepmother never loved him, she even got his father to sell Rodriguez.
When Rodriguez was four years old, he was sold to a shepherd in the Sierra Morena mountains. From Rodriguez’s faint memories, he says that the shepherd took good care of him, until one day when he never came back, making Rodriguez think that he might have died as he would not just disappear. This happened when he was seven years old.
Not long before that, the shepherd’s hut was raided by a pack of wolves that slaughtered all the lambs, but not Rodriguez as they sort of adopted him by taking him from the small hut into the wilderness. He describes the mother wolf from the pack as having taken care of him just as if he was her own cub and not a human boy.
Since then, he got used to the wild lifestyle and even adopted the same diet as his wolf family. As he grew older, he evolved his diet to wild berries and mushrooms. As a small child, the wolves even showed him how to shelter himself in the hollow space of an old tree during wintertime.
Due to the mountain zone, they were confined to, as a child, he ended up sleeping many nights in various caves with his wolf family. The caves were filled with bats, snakes, and other dangerous small animals, but he was always protected from these dangers. As a child, he remembers how, in the absence of other children, he used to play with the cubs by running around the forest or just rolling around in the dirt.
This is how Rodriguez describes his best-lived moments in life and that he was in a way upset that he was saved from the wilderness. It might have been the abuse he had seen since a small child or the insecurity caused by his carers’ abandonment, but you can never argue with a person’s happiness, no matter in what form it may come.
“Saved” from the wilderness
At the age of nineteen, he was saved from the wilderness by the police who were searching the forest for a criminal on the run. Rodriguez hadn’t interacted or spoken with a person for so long that he even forgot how to properly speak. He describes that the police forced him to return to civil society which he had forgotten about and that he barely remembered. He was never interested to go back to the “crazy world” as he described it.
The Spanish social services helped him to get back on his feet, as he had literally nothing to his name, no even an idea. He received housing whilst he made some money for himself working in construction. Rodriguez describes his experience of working with people as a terrible one because he constantly felt that everyone, especially his bosses wanted to take advantage of him. He was never able to put his trust in anyone, which may be an issue that relates to the insecurity he had as a child.
It is true that animals, especially wolves, are very loyal to one another and they would protect their family with their own lives at any moment in time.
After thirty years of trying to get used to urban life, Rodriguez felt too depressed as he was not able to adapt to the “normal” human lifestyle. Therefore, he quit his job and tried to go back into the forest the wolves had raised him in. What he ended up seeing not only surprised him but frightened him even more. The place where he spent most of his childhood and teenage years was now urbanized by humans, with wooden houses and electric fences all around the forest.
He even tried to integrate himself back with different packs of wolves, but none of the packs welcomed him as a family member, because to them Rodriguez was only a human, meaning a potential enemy. Rodriguez’s life was the subject of many anthropological studies and there have also been many books written about his life, some which judge his decisions, whilst others that enforce his wild lifestyle.
Rodriguez now tries to adapt to a normal lifestyle. He found some joy in 2010 as he was able to collaborate with many animal protection organizations which allowed him to go around schools to tell children his life story and the importance of taking care of animals, not abusing them. Even to this day, Rodriguez regrets the day he was saved by local authorities as he would have preferred to die next to his wolf family.
I see Rodriguez’s life as a great example that portrays how hateful and bad our society can end up being. It does not matter if you are human or animal or any other type of entity. Any entity with a soul will look for love and closure as it is something natural. This also portrays that the bond between beliefs, traditions, and most importantly culture forms in the childhood period of a person, as that is when a person is most vulnerable, therefore looking for security in the form of love.
Rodriguez also appeared in the movie called Entrelobos (translated to “Between Wolves”), which tells his life story. As I have mentioned before, we cannot judge what makes a person happy, no matter how crazy it seems, especially when his relationship with that certain pack of wolves that raised him became so strong, to the point where he felt better among them rather than with humans.