We are delighted to report that EcoCamp's first Patagonia Puma Tracking guests saw a total of six pumas over four days of morning and evening outings in Torres del Paine National Park.
Run by wildlife and photography expert Diego Araya, along with the help of guide Roberto Donoso, the group was blessed by incredible weather and good luck.
"On our first morning we were out at 7am, our new friends and the team ready to scout the rolling hills of Torres del Paine in the quest for this elusive but charismatic golden ghost," recalls Diego. "The first day was very useful to understand how puma tracking works."
The fact that they saw two pumas was a bonus to say the least! "Despite having two distant encounters, and our explorers managing to get some shots, we were still looking for the jackpot."
Meanwhile back at EcoCamp a surprise visitor came to call. It was 7.30am and the Community Dome was buzzing with breakfasters when one of the guides, Gonzalo, suddenly gasped "puma"!
And this fine feline passed through the domes allowing guests to admire her as she went.
"After tracking and looking around everywhere on our second day," continues Diego, "the unmistakable noise of a guanaco alarm call put us on track and finally we found a resting puma in a conglomerate boulder lit by the golden afternoon light." This was the jackpot shot.
Diego and the puma tracking group
This fine posing puma was in fact known by Diego and is particularly easy to spot because she happens to be a manx cat. She may have lost her tail in an accident or it could have been a birth defect, no-one knows, but she has been seen around the park since she was a cub.
"We were very happy to tell our passengers that she's very tame and we would be able to get very close," says Diego.
Having caught this incredible cat on film, the group decided to spend the next day photographing the other wonders of Torres del Paine National Park, like mountains at sunrise, guanacos, foxes, owls and landscapes.
Yet luck was shining down on them and the third morning brought yet another encounter with a young puma. "This time it was morning light and she shared her life with us sunbathing, stretching and even attempting to hunt some passing guanacos!"
"Surrounded by so many smiling faces made me realize how lucky I am to be doing what I do in this unique corner of the earth," said Diego.
There really is nothing like observing a puma in her natural habitat, and as luck would have it we sent a film crew along so watch this space for our upcoming video...