Patagonia, Chile January 2018

I have returned home with a feeling of triumphant euphoria having found a big cat I have tried so many times to see before, the puma. My previous unsuccessful attempts were in the Rockies of Colorado and on two earlier trips to Torres del Paine.

Puma are often referred to as American Cheetah, they are in fact from the tribe Acinonychini and along with the African Cheetah and the medium sized Jaguardundi. They are the only three extant species of this tribe although they do share the sub family Felidnae with Snow Leopards.  The similarity between these three big cats and members of the Felidae family is that their larynx and vocal cords are not toughened and so they meow and purr as opposed to members of the panthera family who roar.  I am not aware of anywhere in the world that people would consider it easy to find one of these magnificent big cats. Being solitary in nature and blending perfectly with their rocky habitat, you have to be incredibly lucky to see one. On New Year’s Day 2018 we were blessed to come across a large female in perfect condition who was searching for her cubs.  It was our guide’s first puma sighting of the season which started way back in September 2017.

Later in our trip when we arrived in Buenos Aires our local guide professed to have never seen one despite having done over 40 trips to Patagonia, quite specifically to see this magnificent cat.  I am told that if you want to increase your chances that the Awasi Lodge, north east of Torres del Paine is the place to go because their attention to detail continues past the luxury lodge and into their conservation ethos.

By | 2018-03-14T13:19:29+00:00 February 15th, 2018|Trip Report|0 Comments