The Wolves of Cañada Real

Yesterday we went to the Centro de Naturaleza Cañada Real, a small nature park about 40 km from Madrid.

It’s a very basic attraction site with small enclosures that have various native species including mammals, reptiles and birds. The Spanish ibex had a large enclosure that they seemed comfortable in and the red deer also had space to run and graze in; the lynx, fox, wild cat and tortoises however were extremely cramped and looked bored.

The animals we enjoyed the most were the Iberian wolves. A different subspecies to the Italian and European wolves, the Iberian wolves are thinner, smaller and a more rusty colour. I found them very beautiful. The keeper who came to feed them told us that the group we were seeing was composed of three solitary individuals, two females and one male, who had been kicked out of the main group. Three renegades that definitely looked the part. There was another enclosure with two wolves in it but it wasn’t accessible to us visitors.

In the following photos I’ve given them names, but these aren’t the wolves real names (that we weren’t told).


This was the dominant, most habituated wolf who wasn’t afraid of coming up really close to the fence and watching the visitors as intensely as they were watching her. The difference being that the wolf only had one eye. We called her EyePatch.
I loved the colour of her good eye – piercingly yellow. Here she is, grabbing as much food as she can and going to different sites in the enclosure, digging a hole and covering them up carefully and diligently.
Something caught EyePatch’s attention
This wasn’t the second wolf we saw, and with it’s thin neck and sparse fur, she reminded me of the wolf in the sword and the stone! Unfortunately the wolf of the cartoon didn’t have a name, so she’s been named Stone.
She was very submissive towards EyePatch and it took her about 10 minutes to approach the food and take a morsel, creeping up close to the ground, with her tail rucked waaay way under her legs and speeding away as fast as she could.
Here is Stone, on the right, with Joker, on the left. Joker was the only male, the largest of the three, with a floppy ear and a smile that reminded us of, of course, the Joker.
He was the last in the hierarchy and possibly disturbed by the visitors. He never came close enough to get any of the food the keeper threw – just looked at us from a distance.
Stone, eyeing more food.
EyePatch in a romantic pose under some bushes.
EyePatch was the most photogenic, being the one that was most comfortable with the visitors. This is my favourite photo of the day.

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