El Hombre y La Tierra

Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente

March 14th, 2010

Foto

Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente, (Poza de la Sal, March 14, 1928), the great Spanish naturalist and broadcaster, died 30 years ago today. He was killed in a helicopter accident while filming in Alaska on his birthday March 14, 1980.

He was an expert in falconry and animal behavior and spent many years studying wolves, but above all he was a great communicator who captivated Spain in the 1970’s, doing more than anybody to promote natural history among the general public. He is best known for the highly successful and influential series El Hombre y la Tierra (1975–1980), which you can watch online here. Millions of homes in Spain were captivated by the series, and there are possibly apocryphal tales of the streets being empty when the episodes were broadcast. The series and his other work played no small part in the change in attitude towards wildlife in general and wolves in particular. Rodríquez de la Fuente used wolves he had raised himself from cubs living in a semi-wild fenced estate for the film. They were different times with inferior cameras than today. But, for all its trickery, the episode on el lobo still stand out as superb and beautiful piece of nature documentary and holds a rightful place in contemporary Spanish folk memory. And his work inspired a whole generation of young Spanish naturalists who work in nature conservation today.

The legacy of his work is continued with the Fundación Félix Rodríguez .

Golden eagle hunting video

October 1st, 2008

Here’s an old and spectacular favourite from El Hombre y La Tierra series by Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente. The golden eagle has actually been trained to pull/knock animals off crags. I don’t think it’s fair to be too critical as it follows the standards of nature films of the time, when filming was incredibly expensive and they didn’t have the benefit of today’s remarkable equipment. The scene was filmed in a private estate in Segura y Cazorla. The unfortunate animal is, I believe, a mouflon. The rest, too quick footed for the eagle, are Spanish ibexes (cabras monteses). Read commentary on the forum where it was first posted, and where Clive suggests this behaviour occurs in the wild in Grazalema.


Short-toed eagle video

February 22nd, 2007

9-minute extract on the Short-toed eagle from the essential “El Hombre y la Tierra”, by Félix Rodrí­guez de la Fuente. As you will see in full gruesome detail , Águila culebrera its Spanish name (snake eagle) is well chosen. And as De la Fuente puts it in his indomitable style “even the lynx, the prince of the predators of the Mediterranean forest, stands in awe at such a feat” Remarkable.