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Torres del Puma’s!

Torres del Puma’s!

Two years ago I already started planning this trip, I always wanted to do a long trip when I would be finished studying. In that time my ideas about the planning of the trip have continually changed, but eventually there was a plan! Now the time is finally there: a trip of three months through South-America had started! My plan is to visit three countries: Chile, Bolivia and Peru. Of course one goal is to work on my cat list, but I also want to improve my Spanish and I’ve got my eye on a few birds. The trip starts at the most Southern airfield of Chile: Punta Arenas. The destination of this part of the trip is Torres del Paine, a park that is supposed to be the best place in the world to see puma’s.

Torres del Paine does not disappoint! When we arrive at the park we decide to first walk towards a lake and then do some serious searching for puma’s. We are literally walking five minutes in the area and BOOM! There lies a puma at ten meters! I’ve still got my lunch in my hand because I definitely did not expect we would be lucky so quickly. As quick as I can I get my camera from my belt and start shooting, just in time because lazily the puma arises: she does not appreciate our visit after all. We follow the puma as she walks in to bushes and there I manage to get a head portrait through the branches. At a certain time we lose the puma for a minute and when I move over to another spot to try to see the puma again she suddenly arises at one meter from me! Oops, didn’t realize she was that close! We decide to leave this puma alone and walk back.

Boo!

We had about three days planned in Torres and already that seems to be enough. In the days after we have another great encounter with a different puma. Also this time it’s a female and she gives away quite a show. I’m especially glad with the shot when she walks in front of the snowy peaks of Torres del Paine. With a wink she disappears behind the hills.

Eye of the tiger…. Not exactly, but a puma is nice too!

And a nice day to you madam!

We still had the best ahead of us though… On the last day we effectively only  had the morning to search. We are quickly successfull but this time the puma’s are at a distance and we cannot come closer. Our total is already at seven so that’s a fine total for a few days of searching! On our last ride through the park something very special happens, suddenly we see two ears sticking out above a stone. That must be a puma! We get out of the car and when we move we gradually get a better view of the puma, there are two of them! When we walk even further we see that there are actually three! They look like grown up puma’s, but in reality they are two young females and one young male. I know immediately what kind of photo I want from those so I quickly go to higher ground to get them all three as best as possible. When I’m in the correct position, I start shooting and I hope I will get the photo I’m dreaming of.

Nice, another puma!

Oh, there is two!

A nice morning to you too sir!

Best day ever, three puma’s!

Puma in black and white!

Watch the white spots behind the ears, something I recently noticed all cats have.

Time to say good bye!

We keep following the puma’s for a while. They are in no rush and move calmly. It’s a bit surrealistic to be at ten meters of these animals that could kill us without breaking a sweat, the puma’s of Torres del Paine behave nicely though. It’s just important not to move to fast and not to start running. At a certain point the puma’s go further into the terrain and we have to leave them alone. Of course I’ve taken hundreds of photos, but I quickly scroll to the one moment when the three of them were together. Yes! It’s there! I have at least ten photos on which they just don’t all look at me, but also one that has the perfect shot. Great! Of course the light conditions aren’t perfect but what an incredible moment!

The picture I dreamed of: three puma’s together! Watch the (size) difference between the male and the two females.

It’s these kind of moments that make you appreciate your hobby again and makes it worth all the effort you put in it. My trip has started of excellent, in time hope to post more stories from the trip. I have only just started editing the photos and I’ve got quite a few (about 20.000) so the data is there! For now I travel with excellent ‘pumastats’ to the next destination: Tierra del Fuego!

Poemastats, taken just before the big moment. There is still room for three extra bars on the right side!

LennartVerheuvel

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