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.