Or are they extinct in the wild?
Thanks. Roomie was asking. (We’re watching The Wolfman (2010).)
Somewhat surprisingly, in western Europe they survive in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, and Scandinavia.
No, although there’s a serious push in some quarters to reintroduce them back to the UK (specifically in the Scottish Highlands). The beaver has already been reintroduced in the Scottish Highlands, with the first wild beaver in 400 years in the UK being born a a few months ago.
In France they had been totally eliminated (around 1900, I believe) and reappeared only recently (maybe 20 years ago or), coming from Italy (and I believe, though I’m not sure, that Italian wolves in turn reapeared not long before coming from the Balkans).
Their presence is in fact a hot issue, raising the ire of sheep herders, even though there are really few wolves at the moment (some dozens maybe?) and their number and geographical range are expanding very slowly.
I wouldn’t know about Spain/Portugal or Scandinavia (although I suspect that in Scandinavia at least, they never dissapeared).
By the way, more surprisingly, France has nowadays a population of wild wallabies.
In addition to the previous answers whilst the last wolves in England went in mediaeval times, the last in Scotland is popularly supposed to have been strangled by Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, Chief of Clan Cameron, otherwise a noble man, bith cavalier and loyal jacobite, in 1680.
( One google result of an 1836 book indicates 1630, but as he would have been aged one, I find it improbable. ]
Far better was his deed when he slew a traitorous parliamentarian by ripping out his throat with his teeth.
The story is told how in one of these fights Lochiel found himself in death grips with a gigantic English officer. They lay on the ground together, neither of them able to reach his weapon. At last the Englishman saw his chance, and reached out to recover his sword. As he did so he exposed his throat, and this the Chief in his extremity seized with his teeth and held till his opponent’s life was extinct. When upbraided at a later day with the savage act, he declared it was the sweetest bite he had ever tasted. It is this Chief who is said to have slain with his own hand the last wolf ever seen in the Highlands of Scotland, and his hardihood may be gathered from the story that on one occasion, when sleeping out in the snow, having observed that one of his sons had rolled together a snowball for a pillow, he rose and kicked away the support, exclaiming, “Are you become so womanlike that you cannot sleep without this luxury ?”
I remember that when he was down in London he was being shaved, and the barber implied the Scots were savages, whining that his brother had had his throat bitten through. Sir Ewen genially did not identify himself as barbers had very big razors to shave customers then.
Probably not the Ewan Cameron evoked in the first lines of Aytoun’s famous ‘The Execution of Montrose’
COME hither, Ewan Cameron !
Come, stand beside my knee —-
I hear the river roaring down
Towards the wintry sea.
In Spain, their presence is often credited to Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente, whose 1974-80 TV series “El hombre y la tierra” (Man and Earth) introduced Spaniards to such concepts as ecology, ecological niche… At a time when we had 1.5 channels (UHF channel 2 only ran for about half as many hours as VHF1 did and it had smaller geographical coverage), his chapter on “vultures are nature’s trash trucks, they do a wonderful job” had people talking about it for weeks. Many species which featured prominently in his documentaries (among them wolves, several species of vultures, the Iberian lynx) were in danger of extinction and viewed as pests until he brought them to our living rooms. Thousands (if it isn’t millions by now) of biologists, zoologists and veterinarians claim him as the person who triggered their vocation; the series is pretty much a permanent best-seller, whether as reruns or sold for home use.
He’s been criticised for some of his techniques (“but he used montages and decoys!” “but sometimes he used trained animals!” “but he used the sequence of the wolves chasing goats three times: in the chapter about goats, in the one about wolves and in the one about predators!”): most people’s response to the critics is “sour grapes, are you going to start complaining about Cousteau next?” If it hadn’t been for him, wolves and linces would have been extinct before 1980.
One of the areas where there was a population back in the 70s (and there is one now) is the Mountains of Leon, at the NE corner of Portugal.
I think the Limeys shot the last one in 1981.