Saturday, 30 January 2021

SAVING WILDLIFE - PUMA

                               

                  SAVING WILDLIFE - PART ONE - PUMA

 

Having been passionate about wildlife since childhood, it seemed natural to want to help it flourish, so once I'd achieved my goal of becoming a wildlife film-maker, it was a no brainer to try to benefit the animals I was lucky enough to make films about for broadcasters around the world.

Three programmes stand out as examples of how television can directly help wildlife, the local people and their rural economies. One on Snow Leopards in the Himalayas was a success, a film about Newfoundland's fishing industry very moving and one about Pumas in the Andes Mountains of Patagonia a life saver for those big cats.

Yes, I know the common attitude is that ‘it’s only television and all the programmes are rubbish’ but no-one can deny that the many BBC films with David Attenborough are wonderful and have not only entertained but educated us about wildlife around the world and the increasing challenges that so many species now face. Global warming is a threat to us all and Sir David is making us increasingly aware that we need to act and we need to act now. 

I’ve been privileged to contribute to several of David’s films and though the three examples I’ll tell you about were my own productions and less 'important', they did directly benefit the local wildlife in ways that make me proud.

   

                        “PUMA - LION OF THE ANDES” 


Heading into the mountains in Southern Chile in 1993 to try to make a film about pumas for National Geographic TV and the BBC was a daunting task, not only because they had never been filmed before but because they were persecuted relentlessly by the local gauchos for killing sheep. 

These big cats are notoriously shy everywhere, so much so that the world’s leading authority on them, who goes by the wonderful name of Maurice Hornocker only saw them four times during his eight years of study in North America. Up in the Rockies they are called cougars or mountain lions and in South America by the native name puma, meaning ‘strong and powerful'.


 

I was camping out in the glorious wilds of the Torres del Paine National Park but despite the protection this Unesco site provided for wildlife, the gauchos would come into the park and kill the pumas to protect their sheep, then claim the bounties from their estancia owners. 

My sole companion and assistant Donaldo McIver, himself a gaucho from Argentina, found the early stages of our two year quest really difficult, for the big cats would flee at the mere hint of a human presence. Finding out where the cats might be and how to creep around without being seen was a steep learning curve and after our first few weeks we had only a few sightings and hardly any worthwhile film. 

Failure wasn’t an option, so I decided to try to concentrate on one particular young female we'd located. She seemed slightly less scared than all the others and playing on the theory that ‘curiosity killed the cat’, I started a game of cat and mouse to try to habituate her to my presence … and no prizes for guessing who was playing the mouse. Progress was slow but after about four months she allowed me to walk in the mountains with her, even sleeping just a few metres away from my camera. Being trusted by a big cat that is normally terrified of humans is as good as life gets for a wildlife film-maker.


Sadly, her life hung by a thread, for one day two of the local gauchos illegally entered the National Park on horseback. They were armed with rifles and fifteen assorted dogs to hunt and kill pumas and judging by the blood and spent cartridge cases in several caves, they were successful. Our cat we called Penny disappeared and we sat on a mountain side fearing the worst, tearfully accepting that if she was dead, our dream of success was over. 


The park authorities called the police, including a firearm specialist from Santiago to analyse the spent cartridge cases but no gaucho would be fool enough to leave out the gun that killed the pumas, so there was no prosecution. 

Luckily, Penny had survived the onslaught and after our two weeks of desperate searching, she reappeared in her regular haunts and though more nervous, we were once again in business. Fearing that our film was threatened, Donny and I decided to bribe the leading gaucho in the hope he would leave our precious cat alive until the film was finished. So armed with armfuls of pesos, my assistant Donny’s experience as a gaucho and speaking their language, he was able to negotiate a stay of execution and Penny was left alive. So, to cut a long story short, after 250 days out in the wilds with my cat, spread over two and a half years, the film was completed and went on to win numerous awards.

However, the real success achieved by this film was the way it attracted the attention of broadcasters from around the world and many film crews followed my tracks to make films about the cats. Torres del Paine became a mecca for photographers and wildlife film-makers and this publicity of the park’s wildlife and beauty has attracted thousands of tourists and their dollars. 

This sounds like bad news for shy cats but as the money flowed in to the rural economy, the estancia owners realised that pumas were worth a lot more than sheep so stopped shooting the cats and set up lodging for wildlife tourists instead. The dollars flowed in, the number of pumas increased and they slowly became more habituated to humans which allowed great film and pictures to be taken.


I'm told by friends who visit the park regularly that the pumas have thrived ever since and everyone is happy, though I’m not so sure that guanacos, their main prey will share my enthusiasm.


However, they too have benefited from the more relaxed estancia owners and all the parks wildlife has increased too, so this is good example of how a ‘mere’ television film can directly save wildlife. 

Snow Leopards in the Himalayas and the benefits our film and BBC ones made for these charasmatic cats and the local economy will follow when I've finished preparing our marsh for the imminent spawning of our frogs.


The pics of our Penny the Puma are by my friend and ace photographer Laurie Campbell who joined Donaldo and I for a couple of weeks and who owns the copyright. Thank you Laurie.

6 comments:

  1. My husband and I separated recently. We’ve been married for six years now and it’s been an abusive relationship in all types of way. I want to figure out myself and fix my own issues so I can be a great mom and wife but I feel like is a waste of time to try to fix my marriage because it’s broken down and I’m emotionally drained and I just want to focus on my kids. And I feel it’s unfair for me to try to fix something that I’m the only one that’s putting effort into. I’m so confused. That had been my decisions until i came across an article in a blog on how Dr.Ogudugu (greatogudugu@gmail.com) helped many people to restore broken marriages/relationships. I quickly contacted him, and he told me what i should do, which i did immediately. Within 48hours my husband came back and the greatest part of it is that my husband has changed completely, he no longer abuses or insults me. Today, he has become a loving and caring husband.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello, I am Theresa Williams After being in relationship with Anderson for years, he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to my friend and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him. That was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made a promise that anybody I know that has a relationship problem, I would be of help to such a person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem. His email: {drogunduspellcaster@gmail.com} you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or any other Case.
      1) Love Spells
      2) solution and cure to all sickness
      3) Herbal Cure for any disease/sickness
      4) Marriage Spells
      5) Pregnancy spell
      6) Breakup Spells
      7) Death spell
      8.) You want to be promoted in your office
      9) want to satisfy your lover 
      10) Lottery
      Contact this great man if you are having any problem for a lasting solution
      through {drogunduspellcaster@gmail.com}

      Delete
  2. Spell to fix your broken marriage or relationship problem or after a divorce or Breakup,I was recently scam by two of them, until one faithful day i meet a man called Dr Oselumen who help me to get back to the father of my kid after we have been separated for two years,I only pay for the items required for the spell and he cast the spell for me within 24hours my ex husband called me and beg me to forgive him for everything until the end of the world he will never leave me again we are together.if you need a real and quick love spell or you are passing through pregnancy problem Dr Oselumen is the answer, Pleas e if any body needs. LOVE SPELL,LOTTERY,PREGNANCY SPELL, DIVORCE SPELL,STOP COURT CASE AND WIN ANY COURT PROBLEM,DEATH SPELL,BUSINESS SPELL AND MANY MORE YOU MAY NEED. Email him now for your own help. via email droselumen@gmail. com add him on whatsapp line or call +2348054265852. 

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm Sandra form, USA After 7years of marriage, me and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me and moved to California last month to be with another woman, I felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again, i tried to be strong just for the kids but i could not control the pains that torments my heart every night, my heart was filled with sorrows and pains because i was really in love with my husband, Every time i think of him and always wish he would come back to me, I was really upset and i needed help, so i searched for help online and I came across a website that suggested that Dr Fayosa can help get ex back fast So, I felt I should give him a try, I contacted him and he told me what to do and i did it all then he did a Love spell for me, 48hours later just as Dr Fayosa said my husband called me and told me that he miss me and the kids so much, So Amazing that he said he will come back home the next day, with lots of love and joy and he apologized for his mistake and for the pain he caused me and the kids, Then from that day our Marriage was now stronger than how it were before, All thanks to Dr Fayosa he is so powerful and i decided to share my story on the internet that Dr Fayosa is real powerful spell caster who i will always pray to live long to help his children in the time of trouble, if you are here and you need your Ex back or your husband moved to another woman, do not cry anymore, contact this powerful spell caster now Here’s his contact Text or call Dr Fayosa With (Fayosasolusionhome@gmail.com) or directly on whatssapp +2348151918774, thank you so much Dr Fayosa

    ReplyDelete
  4. Please visit
    (http://dradodalovetemple.com)
    (https://youtu.be/B279mkEo_C4)
    i am here to give testimony on how this powerful spell caster called Dr Adoda helped me to fix my relationship. i was heartbroken when my fiancee told me he is no longer interested in marrying me because he was having an affair with the other woman where he work. I cried and sobbed every day, until it got so bad that I reached out to the Internet for help, that was when i read a review about the great work of Dr Adoda, then i contacted him for help to get my lover back, he helped me cast a powerful (reconciliation love spell) and to my greatest surprise after 48 hours of doing the love spell my Fiancee came back on his knees begging me to forgive him We are now happily married and all thanks goes to Dr Adoda Wonders for helping me save my relationship you can contact Dr Adoda through his email address: adodalovespelltemple440@gmail.com or WHATSAPP him on+2348112825421

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm so excited my broken Marriage has been restored. My ex husband is back after he left me and our 2kids for another woman. I was so happy to meet Dr. OKu how he helps many people to bring their Lover back so i contact him to help me too. husbandThat was how Dr. Oku helped me to bring my  back.. A big thank you to Dr. Oku because I never thought my ex Husband will be back to me so quickly with your spell. You are the best and world greatest. If you are here and you need your Ex Let you in over back or your husband moves to another woman, do not cry anymore, contact this powerful spell caster now. Here’s his contact:Email him at: okutemple@gmail.com You can also Call/WhatsApp:+2348163425519

    ReplyDelete