Crouching among the low bushes near a hilltop, an adult Puma, Puma concolor stares at us in the distance in the cold morning air in Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, Chile. The largest and top patagonian predator, it is second in size only to the Jaguar among American cats. It ranges from Alaska south to Tierra del Fuego, and its stealth, mostly nocturnal and crepuscular habits make it hard to be spotted in the wild.
Photo taken during one of our current season’s Patagonia Explorer programmes, covering part of Southern Patagonia including Torres del Paine NP and Tierra del Fuego in Chile and Los Glaciares NP in Argentina.
A female Andean Huemul Deer, Hippocamelus antisensis checks us out in the distance while feeding in the first light of day at the foothills of the Andes mountains near Putre, Arica, Northern Chile. One of the largest but least known mammals of the country, it is very rare and shy, and as such it is only occasionally seen.
Dominating from the edge of a cliff, a female Puma, Puma concolor surveys her hunting grounds in Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia, looking for guanaco or some other prey. Second in size only to the Jaguar among American cats, the Puma is the top predator in Patagonia, reigning supreme above all other carnivores in the region.
Trotting in the open between feeding tunnels while looking for invertebrate prey, a Patagonian Hairy Armadillo, Chaetophractus villosus passes us by in the steppe of Pali Aike National Park in Magallanes, Chilean Patagonia. A mammal of diurnal and nocturnal habits, it lives in burrows of up to 5 meters long and one meter deep.
With flattened ears and menacing teeth, two male Guanaco charge against each other while fighting for dominance and mating rights over the females in the herd. The largest of American camelids, their sole natural predator is the Puma, and Patagonian populations thrive in areas where livestock is not present, like Torres del Paine National Park in Chile.
A plump Southern Grey Fox cub, Pseudalopex griseus gives us an inquisitive look as it sits half-hidden by a clump of grass while waiting for its mother to return from hunting nearby. One of the two fox species in the park, it can be seen in most open habitats in Patagonia.
Peering intently from the cover of its dense habitat in the lush Valdivian temperate rainforest of Chiloe Island in Chile’s Lake District, a female Pudu Deer, Pudu pudu pauses briefly to check on us while grazing. Second smallest deer in the world, legal protection has stopped a century of hunting, but it is still severely threatened due to sustained loss of habitat and predation by feral dogs.
Showing their typical round forehead and scarred pale-grey bodies, a small pod of Risso’s Dolphin, Grampus griseus breaches close to our boat during one of our pelagics off Valparaiso in the Pacific, Central Chile. This curious dolphin is one of several cetaceans that regularly show up on such offshore excursions.
A Crabeater Seal, Lobodon carcinophaga, rests on top of an icefloe in the AntarcticPeninsula. The most abundant of Antarctic Seals, it feeds mostly on Krill and has specialized ramified teeth which retain their prey in the mouth while sifting out the water.
Sticking out its head through the opening of its den, a Magellanic Tucotuco, Ctenomys magellanicus, takes a look around before venturing out in the open to look for food. Its galleries are oriented to minimize the impact of the cold patagonian wind, with openings covered with vegetation.