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Mowgli of Spain: Man raised by wolves for 12 years fails to reintegrate with humans but can’t return to pack either

Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja
Pictured, Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja
Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja
Pictured the Mowgli of Spain, Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja

Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja, the Mowgli of Spain who was raised by wolves for 12 years relents his return to human civilization and his inability to fully embrace or be embraced by humans. 

Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja a 72 year old Spanish man who was raised by wolves from the age of seven to 19 years old has spoken of his desire to return to living with the wild animals after describing his experience living amongst humans as a ‘failure’.

The man’s sentiments follow the then abandoned 7 year old being adopted by a pack of wolves after being stranded in Spain’s Sierra Moreno mountain range.

His reentry into ‘human civilization’ at age 19 came after he was found running around half clothed and barefoot and only able to communicate by grunting. It was after his father was able to identify him that Pantoja was forced to reintegrate with humans. 

Told Pantoja via Spain’s El Pais, ‘I felt nothing when I saw him,’

‘He only asked me one thing: ‘Where is your jacket?’ As if I would still be wearing the jacket I had when I left!’

But fifty three years later, Pantoja who lives in a small, cold house in Rantje, Galicia with a bare pension has expressed his disappointment of having returned to living amongst humans while acknowledging he has never fully been able to reintegrate in society.

Since being taken from the cave he called home, Pantoja claims his life went downhill, with the man experiencing having been cheated and abused, exploited by bosses in the hospitality and construction industries and left with nothing.

Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja as a stray seven year old boy becomes adopted by a female wolf. 

Known as the Mowgli of Spain, Pantoja said his happiest days were living in a cave with bats, snakes and deer, whose calls he can still mimic.

Pantoja’s foray with wolves came soon after being sent as a goatherd in the mountain ranges after his mother died during childbirth when he was three while his abusive father ran off with another woman.

The old man he was training to replace taught him how to use fire and make utensils but either died or suddenly left, leaving him as a small boy all alone.

Pantoja notes the UK’s dailymail survived after observing which berries and root vegetables animals ate before being eventually fed by a mother wolf who later adopted him.

‘One day I went into a cave and started to play with wolf cubs that lived there and I fell asleep. Later, the mother brought food for them and I woke up.’

She fed her cubs some meat which Pantoja tried to steal from one of the cubs but the mother pawed at him and growled until he backed off.  

‘After feeding her pups she threw me a piece of meat. I didn’t want to touch it because I thought she was going to attack me, but she was pushing the meat with her nose,’ he told the BBC in 2013.

‘I took it, ate it, and thought she was going to bite me, but she put her tongue out, and started to lick me. After that, I was one of the family.’

Pantoja said he also had a snake for company who followed him around because he fed her goat’s milk.

Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja
Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja

Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja: never fully been able to embrace return to human civilization. 

Returning to civilization was the scariest experience of his life, first to an orphanage where the nuns taught him to walk up straight and eat at a table.

He was confined to a wheelchair for a time after the thick callouses were cut off his feet while a visit to a barber terrified him.

The noise was the worst part – cars, bustling crowds, and people walking by his window in all directions. He was afraid of crossing the road.

He fought with the nuns about sleeping in a bed and when he rented his own room he at first slept on the floor on a pile of magazines and blankets.

Told Pantoja via the bbc at the time, ‘When I got out of there, the first thing they should have done is send me to a school, teach me to talk and how to behave in the world. What was the point of making me first do communion and military service? So I could learn to shoot and kill people?’

Pantoja tried to return to the mountains but found it was a very different place to what he remembered and his cave was replaced with cottages and electric gates.

The wolves also didn’t accept him after he was away so long and kept their distance instead of embracing him as a brother.

‘You can tell that they are right there, you hear them panting, it gives you goosebumps… but it’s not that easy to see them,’ he said.

‘There are wolves and if I call out to them they are going to respond, but they are not going to approach me. I smell like people, I wear cologne.’

Environmental group Amigos das Arbores is raising money to buy the former boy wolf prodigy a boiler for his house along with insulation.

Speaking of his neighbors, most who’ve come to accept him, while others have taunted at his naivety, Pantoja reflected, ‘I think they laugh at me because I don’t know about politics or soccer,’

While saying that his doctor told him, ‘Laugh back at them. Everyone knows less than you.’

Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja
Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja
Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja
Marcos Rodriguez Pantoja