The Once Hated Wolf Could Now Save A Struggling Community

SAN PEDRO DE LAS HERRERIAS, Spain — I meet Javier Talegón and the other wolf enthusiasts at 6:30 a.m. in the blink-and-you-miss-it town on the eastern fringe of the Sierra de la Culebra in the province of Zamora in northwestern Spain. This undulating mountain range, whose name translates as “snake mountains,” slides over the border into neighboring Portugal. Talegón, an expert and guide, is keen to get moving. He bundles us into a couple of waiting cars packed with tripods and telescopic equipment, and we set off for a nearby ridge, where he says we’ll have the best chance of spotting a wolf. Time is of the essence, as the mostly nocturnal wolf we are here to see tends to move only at nightfall and early in the day. We spend the next two hours in a line and in silence. Our eyes are glued to telescopes, but a dense fog that has engulfed the ground beneath the ridge hampers our vision. Then, just when silence starts to give way to the mumblings of small talk, Talegón spots something. It’s a wolf, a male, and it’s about a mile away on the farthest ridge in front of us. Wolf […]

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