July 09, 2018  •  Leave a Comment



I will not forget the moment almost 3 months ago that I stopped to scan the valley and hills during one of my daily treks in the Torres del Paine Massif, a day like many before, and I hope many to come, that I spend  searching for the regions elusive apex predator. On this particular day I was lucky, as after only 2 minutes I had spotted a beautiful female Patagonian Puma striding through the billowing golden grass, less than 50 mtrs to my right, she paid me no attention whatsoever, not even a cursory glance, I was quite offended but forgave her immediately for dismissing me so nonchalantly,no doubt she had far more important things on her mind. This became plainly obvious after a few seconds when trundling comically behind her were her 4 two month old cubs only the ears and occasional tip of a raised tail visible above the billowing stems and heads of the grass, whether or not she wanted them along if she was off hunting, I will never know, but either way they were not letting mum too far out of their site just yet......


I stood entranced by the site of this magnificent cat, one that has long been my favourite among the worlds large felines. I had my camera at the ready and filmed her on her way in the direction of Lake Sarmiento, a place in previous years I had spent much of my time, observing and photographing these magnificent elusive felines. Today as I write however, some sad news has reached my ears from the head of a film crew that is working in the park, although if I am honest I had suspected that this particular female had encountered problems or possibly abandoned her litter, after meeting up with a male eager to mate, these things happen, yet I doubt we will ever discover the real reason she has not been sighted since the 27th of June, as I write it is the 9th of July. There is only one outcome for the cubs that I have seen waiting in the same general area of the park for their mothers return, and that is starvation. I watched them today from afar, laying on a hillside a few hundred metres from where I last saw them, doing the same thing, patiently waiting for their mothers return, only then they were a little more boisterous and playing games with rocks on the hillside. 


Sadly I suspect the games and boisterous young cat behaviour has ceased, as their energy levels dwindle and they become more and more confused by the lack of contact with the only thing that maters in their lives, their mother. There are many reasons for the female not being seen for this lengthy period, her death due to a fatal blow suffered with an encounter with another cat is one, a broken bone, an infection, but for the cubs it makes no difference the end result will be that they starve. I sat on a hill a few hundred metres from them, only the tips of the ears of two of the cubs were visible, I am certain that would be the las time I would see them, it made me sad, I am only human, and knowing how the food chain works , and having experienced it here for nearly three and a half years of my life, it should pass as normal, but in all honesty I found it hard to accept. 


Nature works perfectly, it does not need any help from us, never did never will, it will roll on as it has always done, 

sometimes however, it is a little hard to swallow.


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