Patagonia 2017 Pumas

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As I mentioned, my May photo tour specifically targeted pumas, which can be seen relatively well in the Andes with proper guiding and tracking. After a great trip for cats last year when I was scouting the location, I knew my clients and I would have pretty good luck this year... but I still didn't expect to see 19 different pumas in one week. Suffice to say, the tour was a success, and my clients were pretty thrilled to come away with a lot more feline photo ops than they expected.

You can check out this year's full puma gallery here. A short preview is below.

This female walked within 10 feet of us in our first 15 minutes inside the national park.

A female with one of two seven-month-old cubs.

The highlight of the trip for me was catching this family in a gorgeous setting during a brief snowfall.

A male who walked out of a canyon right in front of us.

The darkest puma I've ever seen, a big male who was in pursuit of a female.

See this year's full puma photo gallery here.


PS - I will be returning to this area to lead a tour in 2019 if you're interested in joining me.

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
Friday (11-30-18) I watched a show about South American pumas during NatGeo Wild's Big Cat Weekend. I believe one segment was recorded in the same area where you were. It is probably available via On Demand (Comcast/Xfinity) or some of the other streaming services.

Like on your trip, pumas on the prowl passed within a few yards of the film crew. It looks as though the big cats have become habituated to people in the national park when they go about their daily activities. I wish I could go on your 2019 trip as it looks like a great opportunity to photograph these magnificent cats.
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Bill, it's almost certainly the same place and the documentary may have featured some of the same cats.

The pumas more or less ignore people (the males are actually much more shy than the females). A couple years ago, the national park restricted off-trail and off-road access to visitors, because so many tourists were walking into the hills following film crews and photographers. So now only a special permit (for someone like the BBC) allows one to go off trail. However, there's a big private ranch next door to the park--the cats travel between the park and the ranch land all the time--and the owner of that property gives permits to select outfitters. My partners have one of these permits, which allows us to wander where we please. We probably split our time between the park and the ranch 50/50, and have sightings in both areas... the private land simply gives us more flexibility to get closer. We were fortunate that the first photo above occurred on a designated trail, so we weren't breaking any rules when she walked by us. It truly is an amazing opportunity to see these cats at relatively close range.

I still have spots left for May and am offering $250 off the tour if anyone's keen on booking right now!


Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
I am glad the national park service and adjoining landowner are taking reasonable steps to preserve the area and the wildlife on it.

Bill Anderson

Super Moderator
Staff member
The show is called Man vs Puma with Boone Smith as the narrator before the camera. I think the title is a bit sensational as the pumas ignored the people as they went about their daily business of surviving in what can be a hostile environment.

I'll watch the show again on On Demand and see if I can pick out some of the cats in Max's photos. The cat in the first photo has distinct scars around its nose. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to