25 posts in this topic

Working as a wildlife photographer and guide has led me to many great experiences and findings. I was among the firsts to start guiding for jaguars in the Pantanal, then I found a great place for ocelots... but another great cat remained a mistery to me, the puma, also known as mountain lion or cougar in North America. This cat, recently described at a National Geographic article as the "phantom cat", is rarely seen by anyone, despite their huge range and variety of habitats where they occur. Up until this trip, I only had a couple pictures of pumas made with camera traps. I haven't even seen it live with my eyes.

 

Last year I planned a scouting trip to find pumas in Torres del Paine National Park, southern Chile, and it was a great success. So, here's a quick report with some pics:

 

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Our amazing hotel inside the National Park, surrounded by beautiful huge mountains and minutes away from the best puma areas.

 

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The world famous Las Torres granite peaks at first light. This is the most impressive mountain I have ever seen. We had breakfast at the field overlooking this scenery unfold a different way each morning.

 

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As expected, the search for pumas wasn't easy and demanded patience and a lot of hours in the field. The terrain is vast and the "ghost cats" sure know how to hide. Not that searching in places like this is exactly boring though :P

 

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In the meantime we found some great birds to photograph, like this White-tufted Grebe.

 

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And the ever-present Guanacos, a relative of the camels. They represent the main prey of pumas in this part of the Andes.

 

I will continue this report later today...

 

 

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Yes please continue! Your Puma trips are on my bucket list! Fabulous photos, thank you for sharing, can't wait to see the rest.

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The first Puma we found, at the very end of the first day. He was very far away and with a big wetland in between us, so there was no way we could try to approach. Still, a very exciting sight!

 

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The weather in Patagonia truly is the stuff of legend. One moment it's sunny and mild, 30 minutes later it's windy and snowing!

 

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On this particular day it was so windy that we could hardly leave the car if it wasn't at a very well protected place. It was almost impossible to stand in the wind, it would literally take you off your feet. So this was a difficult day to find any animals, most everything was hiding. But the sunset was out of this world. These clouds, known as lenticular clouds, only form with super fast winds.

 

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A Guanaco close-up.

 

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An exquisite Silvery Grebe at the nest.

 

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A Gray Fox, a relatively common canid in the park.

 

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And then we found a family of Pumas, a mother and 2 cubs. We first located them from atop a high hill. What an elegant animal. Unbelievable.

 

To be continued...

 

 

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What a great photos!

 

I was to Patagonia last year, but it was a hiking trip not a wildlife :(

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Beautiful images, perhaps you can share some photography tips in our photography forum? Have you also seen puma in the Pantanal? One of our members has, around barranco Alto.

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With the right technique and patience we managed to get very close to them and they got used to us, leading to some incredible photography.

 

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Love and affection

 

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Ok, we get the message... this is your territory. Notice the blood on their nostrils, it's from a Guanaco they had killed the night before and were eating there.

 

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The scent of the Guanaco attracted an Andean Condor. This guy circled us several times at very close range. We could really see how massive these birds are: one of the largest wingspans on Earth - 3 meters from tip to tip!!

 

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We spent the entire day with these pumas - over 11 hours (very long days), it's just not the kind of action you leave behind. The weather changed several times, however the wind remained the same, blowing directly into our faces at gale force. The water of the nearby Lake Nordenskjold were being churned up in spirals hundreds of meters up.

 

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I made thousands os photos that day, this is but a small sample of them.

 

To be continued...

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I love the photos, especially the grebes. And the pumas.

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Fantastic pictures in general and exceptional shots of a cat most of us have never seen in the wild. Thank you very much for posting this.

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Definitely a trip like this is on my bucket list too. Your photos are wonderful - thanks so much for sharing!!!

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Gorgeous puma shots. I think Torres del Paine National Park is THE PLACE for puma.

 

Are you a friend of Fred Tavares?

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Thank you for the comments.

 

Atravelynn... no, I don't think I know Fred Tavares... is he a guide?

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fabulous photos. and the pumas - it made my heart beat quicker and my brain start churning on how to travel halfway across the globe to see the stunning cat....

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Spectacular stuff, thank you so much for sharing. I saw a Puma in the Pantanal at midnight, but these sightings are in quite a different league. Have been thinking about Chile ever since I saw a (wonderful) documentary on a Puma mother with four cubs in Torres del Paine, and now you´re making things even worse. ;)

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Amazing puma pictures. I especially like the 2nd pic in post 6 - just wonderful

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There are many dirt roads in the park, and no matter where you go there's always an impressive view to admire.

 

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The large Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle inhabits this mountanious region.

 

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This Puma got a little too close. This was shot around 7 meters away, when we found she hidden in some bushes.

 

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Great Grebe calling

 

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The perfect landscape?

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Thank you for the comments.

 

Atravelynn... no, I don't think I know Fred Tavares... is he a guide?

Yes and he was telling me about a friend of his who led groups to Torres del Paine. I thought he might have been referring to you.

 

Really beautiful cats!

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@@Octavio Campos Salles

Beautiful landscapes and great photos of the pumas - wow.

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My respond is like the others, wow!

You had a quest, and saw it through. Very good. Fascinating pumas and amazing landscapes.

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Stunning images and cats. Thank you for sharing these

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@@Octavio Campos Salles love this report, great to see you here...you captured some fabulous shots of these cats!

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Wow is right. Lovely place, lovely cats and lovely photography!!!

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Marvelous. .. I've been to Patagonia but not so far south. Yes the most amazing scenery ever. I would definitely do this tour!!

Love your images..

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Beter later than never. I just discovered this topic. Gorgeous pictures.

Do you have more pictures of this trip?

I hope that this post will restart it.

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Fabulous photography @@Octavio Campos Salles, love the report! Would love to visit Patagonia someday... :)

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