Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hunting Fox with Eagle, Saving Wildlife With Film

Felix Rodríguez de La Fuente hunting Red Fox with a Golden Eagle in Spain. Felix Rodríguez de La Fuente was a world-class falconer and more-or-less the Spanish equivalent of Jacques-Cousteau-meets-David-Attenborough.

His wildlife narratives (complete with multiple-camera crews, transportation, etc.), were paid for by a rich Saudi prince who recognized his extraordinary abilities with Golden Eagles and the fact that he was a once-in-a-lifetime character who might translate well on to film.

Felix Rodríguez de La Fuente died in 1980 in an airplane crash in Alaska, and his funeral was attended by thousands. Today, there are several statues of him in Spain, where he is a national hero for his efforts to popularize and protect Iberian wildlife.

Rodríguez de La Fuenta's films have recently been digitally remastered which is terrific, as a whole new generation of folks can now see them.

Whatever you think aesthetically about filmed (and yes sometimes partly staged) wildlife shows a-la Frank Buck, Wild Kingdom, Steve Irwin, Jacques Cousteau and David Attenborough, there can be little doubt that these things have done a great deal of good for wildlife and wild places, because they have let people know what is out there and what is at risk of being lost.

That said, it is always fun to mock these things a little bit, and the segment below is pretty rich. Can you figure out who is playing "Cousteau?" I think this might be his only good performance ever!


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