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Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente
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Animal Expert
    (March 14, 1928-March 14, 1980)
    Born in Burgos, Spain
    Spanish naturalist, broadcaster, and environmentalist
    Advanced the zoology field in the study of wolves and falconry
    Host of the popular television nature documentary series, 'El Hombre y la Tierra' (1975–1980)
    Also hosted 'Vida Salvaje' and 'Planeta Azul'
    Wrote 'Fauna Ibérica: los Animales Cazadores' and 'El Lobo'
    Died flying over Alaska, after shooting footage for a documentary about the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, after his Cessna 185 aircraft crashed, killing all crew members on board (March 14, 1980)
    Namesake for the Rodríguez de la Fuente Foundation founded in his honor, by his children, in 2004
    He was basically Spain's answer to Jacques Cousteau (their respective cult followings continue to play up a rivalry online).
    He was actually terrified of wolves as a kid.
    He eventually adopted two Spanish mountain wolf cubs which he named Sibila and Remo.
    He claimed to have developed an interest in falconry after he caught sight of a hawk preying on a duck, one summer.
    He worked as a dentist before making a name for himself as a documentarian.
    His early career was bankrolled by the King of Saudi Arabia (an avid falconist, he financed Fuente's first documentary in exchange for trained birds).
    He is a household name in his home country of Spain, but not so much elsewhere.
    He inspired a corny tribute song sung by Spain's answer to Donny & Marie (Enrique y Ana).
    He reportedly commented, before boarding his associate's aircraft for his ill-fated flight out of Alaska, 'what a beautiful spot to die!'
    He was buried in his hometown cemetery but his widow requested that his remains be exhumed and transferred to Burgos cemetery (the transfer was made at night to avoid an uproar from residents).
    His research so drastically shifted the narrative about the perception of wolves that a study which revealed 9 in 10 of schoolchildren who read Little Red Riding also preferred a redemptive end for the wolf, is attributed to his work in the field.
    He was called 'the Spanish Jack London.'
    He was one of the signatories of the founding charter of the Spanish Ornithological Society (1954).
    He served as an expedition guide and photographer on safaris in Africa.
    He was influenced by Teilhard de Chardin, Remy Chauvin, and (appropriately) Jack London.
    'El Hombre y la Tierra' was honored at the Monte Carlo Television Festival.
    He raised his pet wolves in a semi-wild fenced estate (filming them to gain a better understanding of their habitat).
    He revolutionized naturalist documentary film in that he shot animal behavior not only as it happened, but also managed to make the footage visually appealing.
    He was crucial towards the raising of public awareness regarding the endangerment of the Iberian Wolf, Brown Bear, Lynx, Golden Eagle, and Imperial Eagle - all of whom are now protected by law.
    There are more than sixty monuments to his memory throughout Spain; the most impressive of which is probably the pantheon at his San Jose grave site in Burgos.
    His death sent shockwaves through his home country (the streets would allegedly empty whenever his show came on).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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