It is said that truth is stranger than fiction. And to prove it is a man who was actually raised by the wolves.The life story of Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja reads like a jungle adventure. Born in Spain in 1946, he lost his mother when he was only three and was sold to a goat herder. He was raised in the mountains of Sierra Morena was the herder led a solitary life.
When Pantoja was seven, the herder died and he was adopted by a pack of wolves. The wolves not only nurtured him but also taught him how to survive in the wilderness. He ran and slept with them in a cave infested with bats and snakes.
Although living barefoot and half-naked, he was never affected by cold or snow. Says he, “I only wrapped my feet up when they hurt because of the snow. I had such big calluses on my feet that kicking a rock was like kicking a ball.”
According to him, his bad days started when he was rescued by the Civil Guard at the age of 19 and taken from the wolves’ lair to the human world. This was when his world fell apart.
Today, he not only misses his home with the wolves but hates the struggle to reintegrate with humans. Not surprisingly he longs for his wild days, despite helpful people out to offer him charities for things he cannot afford on his pension.
Pantoja’s attempts to go back to the wolves have also failed since he doesn’t smell the same and the wolves keep a safe distance from him. However, he feels at home with children and goes around telling his story and his love of nature in sessions organized by a charity organization, Amigos das Arbores. Children have become his best friends in this big bad human world.