Feral Spanish child raised by wolves disappointed by human life

A Spanish man claims he was raised by wolves for 12 years.
A Spanish man claims he was raised by wolves for 12 years. Photo credit: Pexels

A Spanish man who claims to have lived with wolves for 12 years says he's disappointed with life in the human world.

Marcos Rodríguez Pantoja was born in Spain's Córdoba province in 1946. His mother died when he was three, and he suffered abuse at the hands of his father and stepmother.

He was sold to a goat herder who lived alone in the mountains of the Sierra Morena, but the man died or disappeared when Mr Pantoja was just seven years old.

He says he was then 'adopted' by a pack of wolves who accepted the child as one of their own. He played with cubs and was looked after by a female wolf who acted as his second mother.

Mr Pantoja slept in a cave and lived off berries and mushrooms. He says he remembers his time with the wolves as the happiest and most free of his life.

"I only wrapped my feet up when they hurt because of the snow," he told Spanish newspaper El País.

"I had such big calluses on my feet that kicking a rock was like kicking a ball."

When he was 19, he was discovered by Spain's Civil Guard. He communicated with them in grunts, having long since stopped needing to use words.

He was captured and forced to return to civilisation against his will.

Mr Pantoja's life has been the subject of anthropological studies, books and even a film - 2010's Entrelobos (Among Wolves).

Now 72, he finds coping with human society far more difficult than living with wolves.

He told El País he felt he has never fully reintegrated back into everyday life. He has worked in hospitality and construction, but has felt cheated and exploited by his employers.

Things are looking up for Mr Pantoja, with an environmental group fundraising to buy him insulation and appliances for his humble village house. He also gives talks at schools about his love for animals and how to care for the environment.

He says he feels more comfortable with children than with adult humans.

Mr Pantoja has tried to return to the mountains he once called home, but says it's "not what it used to be" because the wolves no longer recognise him as a brother.

"There are wolves and if I call out to them they are going to respond, but they are not going to approach me."

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