Puma watching in Chile’s Torres Del Paine National Park

Pumas are among the least seen of earth’s big cats. Though they’re widely distributed from the Canadian Rockies to the southernmost Andes (and known alternatively as cougars or mountain lions), pumas have historically been thought of as too elusive for any sort of commercial tourism.

That changed when a company called Quasar Expeditions, in partnership with Explora Patagonia, launched its first puma trekking safaris earlier this year in Chile’s famed Torres Del Paine National Park.

The idea was to give wildlife enthusiasts the same opportunity to see pumas as they’d have with jaguars in Brazil, lions in Africa or tigers in India.

Source: Puma safari in Chile – CNN.com

Other Puma Watching Options

Galápagos Islands wildlife threatened by battle between locals and scientists.

Galápagos Islands wildlife threatened by battle between locals and scientists | World news | The Observer

Wildlife on the Galápagos is under a new threat. The scientific group that has helped to preserve the islands’ giant tortoises and other unique creatures is on the brink of closure – because of a row about a gift shop.

Local traders have objected to the Charles Darwin Foundation running a souvenir shop at its research station at Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz island. They claim it was siphoning business from their own shops and in July local officials, backed by the government of Ecuador which owns the Galápagos, ordered the station’s shops to be shut.

The impact for the foundation – which carries out wildlife research in the Galápagos and provides key scientific advice on protecting wildlife there – has been devastating.

Read more… Galápagos Islands wildlife threatened by battle between locals and scientists | World news | The Observer.

Tourists risk lives for pictures of rare jaguars fighting in Brazil

This hair-raising picture shows brave tourists risking their lives for pictures as they strayed close to fighting jaguars.

Seasoned wildlife photographer Paul Williams was overjoyed to finally find elusive jaguars in their natural habitat, the Brazilian Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetland area.

But Paul, 34, who works for the BBC Natural History Unit, soon found his joy turn to terror as he watched foolhardy tour boats jostling to see which could get the closest.

“Sadly it’s a scene that’s too common in natural parks around the world, but it’s important to remember that without tourism many of these areas would be under threat. Everyone has the right to experience nature and wildlife, but the organisations and companies who manage this have a responsibility to ensure that the welfare of the wildlife is paramount.”

Read more… Tourists risk lives for pictures of rare jaguars fighting in Brazil – AOL Travel UK.

New species of wild cat identified in Brazil

A new species of wild cat has been identified in South America using molecular markers, researchers claim.

By comparing DNA sequences, the team revealed that two populations of tigrina in Brazil do not interbreed and are evolutionarily distinct.

Results also show the two populations have contrasting interactions with the closely related pampas cat and Geoffroy’s cat.
BBC Nature – New species of wild cat identified in Brazil.