Man Vs. Puma (2018) - full transcript

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Enter an extraordinary arena

for big cat encounters.

My gosh.

Check that out.
How cool is that?

Here, pumas have control.

This is why
I came to Patagonia.

You can fear their stealth...

She's totally
crouched down and hunkered.

That guanaco has no idea.

Feel their power...

It's amazing
how strong she is.



And maybe see how big cats

teach kittens to hunt.

There she goes,
there she goes, there she goes!

She's on it,
she's on it, she's got it!

It's one man's mission...

She knows we're here.

...that becomes a face-off.

Oh, my gosh.

This is southern Chile's

Torres del Paine.

It's a stunning
and serene landscape.

But an eerie echo
signals the presence

of a deadly predator.

Did you hear that?



Listen.

Can you hear that yowl?

That's a puma.
That's a puma.

That's a female in heat
estrous call.

Boone Smith is a big cat expert

who's tracked pumas
since he was a kid.

Here, pumas rule.

Close encounters, guaranteed.

The females,
when they come into heat,

they get really vocal,
they get really loud,

like it's...

it's kind of an eerie sound.

Boone wants to see
how young cats learn to hunt.

First he needs kittens.

And that starts
with one wannabe mama

yearning for a mate.

It's girls' night out
for this lonely cat.

In the game of love,
she is a proactive puma.

A potential mate.

But this cool cat
appears uninterested.

He's almost like
he's sick and tired of her.

Like leave me alone.

She just got
a big-cat cold shoulder.

And this is normal.

With pumas,

the gals are
usually the pursuers.

And this is how it'll go.

It's almost like
she harasses, harasses.

She's rolling across
the top of him.

You can see
he's gettin' agitated.

His ears are goin' back.

You watch.

He's gonna get upset.

You see that?

He just--boom--cuffed her.

Same thing again,
here she goes again.

Her advances
go ignored for days.

Finally...

the male puma takes charge...

...for a quick minute.

And just like that, it's done.

It was a slow start...

but now they may mate
as many as 70 times a day.

This is a pairing of necessity.

A late summer fling.

Their relationship is over
by week's end.

But in three months,

she'll have kittens.

Half a year passes.

The male puma is now gone.

And mama has her paws full.

Triplets.

This is where life
gets really interesting...

because of their home.

There is no place like it
in the world.

Chile stretches down

the west coast
of South America.

Torres del Paine National Park

sits in the south.

500,000 acres.

Pumas here are protected

inside the park

and not hunted

on the farmland just outside.

That's key.

These cats have no fear.

The pumas have been
protected for so long,

they're not really afraid of us.

They're not hidden,
they're in the open,

and it gives us a chance
to get up close and personal.

Boone will track the felines

to see how big pumas
train the next generation.

And that's gonna be really neat

to see what gets passed on
from generation to generation.

He has better
than a front-row seat.

Dang, that is gorgeous.

He's in the arena.

One curious biped in
a field of fangs and claws.

First, to find the prey.

And it's not hard.

The big menu item out here
is guanaco,

kind of camels without humps.

They are the largest
wild animal in South America.

We've got a lot
of puma food right here.

They're always up on top.

They're kinda like
sheep and goats

that always want to be
looking down on things

Only one in three guanacos

live long enough
to become adults.

Not in the guanaco's favor?

Hey, guys.

A fence that separates

the national park
from farmland.

This fence
that seems so insignificant

is just a death trap.

Oh, yeah, I just saw it.

Oh, yeah, there's one--

I can see feet
kicking up in the air.

On the chance
there's a cat on it,

let's move.

Aw, man.

What to do?

Boone consults his local guide.

I think
we try and get it out.

I think there's a...

It's probably gonna
beat the crap out of us.

Ah, shoot.

It's okay, it's okay.

I promise.
I'm trying to help you.

Ugh!

Just go the other way.

Just go that way, go that way.

That still might be puma food.

That's a pretty...

It's got a good laceration.

Nearby,

another guanaco
wasn't so lucky.

Check this out.

That is all that is left
of a puma kill.

A mother puma
caring for two or three kittens

needs to kill a guanaco
about once a week.

And if Boone
listens to the guanacos,

they may lead him
to a puma on the hunt.

One of the things
we can key on

is these guys have
a really distinct alarm call.

Anytime they see a puma,

they're gonna talk at it,
bark at it a little bit,

make sure all the others know

that there's something
that's dangerous.

There's guanaco up on the rocks.

Let's go on up.

Oh, look at that.

I got a cat, I got our cat.

It's a big female.

And she has her eye on Boone.

You gotta be kidding me.

She moves nearer to him

than any wild cat ever.

I'm seeing craziness.

She's dangerously close,

and there's nowhere to hide.

Oh, my gosh.

There's little cover
in Chile's Torres del Paine.

Only a small boulder

between Boone Smith

and a puma on the hunt.

She's coming across
right here.

It's unreal.

I've never...

like pumas don't do this.

It's incredible.

You see that look she gave,

right as she comes up,

like she's starting
to look around,

like she's looking to hunt.

I say we go follow her,
just to go see what she does.

As he follows her,

he realizes she's got
more on her mind

than just hunting.

You can hear the kittens.

Do you hear the kittens
all the way across?

Chirp chirp.

Those are the kittens
all the way across

talking at her.

You got that?

It sounds just like a bird,

but it's just the kitten
talking back at mom,

just kinda like,
"Hey, here I am, here I am.

Where are you?"

I got 'em.

You seeing this?

Listen. She's breaking bones.

Mom knows we're here,

and she's just sitting here
letting us watch.

This is going to be a behavior
that they learn from her.

If she shows no fear,

they're going to start to feel
better and better about this

to the point where
they don't do any different;

they just hang out and eat.

This is stuff that's going
to become a learned behavior,

and they're going to learn
that we're not a threat,

we're no big deal

so you can hang out here

and people will look at you
and then go away.

There's not much left

of that guanaco
they're munching on.

Mom will need to find
more food soon.

But will the kittens be invited
to watch and learn how to hunt?

Boone follows them to find out.

Those kittens are going
to be like four months old.

The only thing they'll do
in the kill is screw it up.

If they're in a hunt,
they'll just screw it up.

So at some point,
she's gonna have to ditch 'em.

They won't be part of the hunt.

She's gonna ditch 'em.

No puma
preschool lessons just yet.

And now, Boone's job
gets dangerous.

It's hunting time
for the adult cats.

It's night,

and we're completely
in the cat's element

at this point.

Like, this is what they do,

they have
incredible night vision,

so this is when a puma's
really most comfortable.

It can...it can just
see this when it hunts.

This is when it takes
advantage of things.

So this is a time
when some of those behaviors

that you come to rely on
and expect to see,

this could be
the time of an anomaly,

it could be different.

And so, heightened awareness,
being keyed up

and ready to just
react to anything...

We just need
to be prepared, okay?

We need to be ready
no matter what comes tonight.

It's a super calm quiet night.

I think I can hear,

I can hear guanaco alarm calls.

We might have a puma coming.

They're a little bit far away,

but it's just
down in the valley.

We might have one coming.

Hey, we got a cat coming,
we got a cat coming.

There's a puma right there
coming across.

It's a different puma.

Even bigger than the mother
of the three kittens.

It's only a matter
of feet away.

And the team
is totally exposed.

She knows we're here.

Just stand and hold still.

No doubt this puma

has lived in Chile's
Torres del Paine

all its life.

It can virtually
see in the dark.

It has the fangs, claws,
and hunting skills

of the top predator.

She knows we're here.
She just gave us a look.

Boone Smith
has only a headlamp

and crossed fingers,
hoping nothing goes wrong.

But the big cat
shows no interest in Boone.

She's already on a kill.

And so she'll go in
right in front of it

and hit the liver and the lungs,

which is what she's done,

and then eating that,
that front shoulder,

which is really typical
of pumas.

Oh, my gosh.

Look at her drag that.

It's amazing how strong she is.

A puma eats between
six and ten pounds of food

in a sitting.

A guanaco can be 260 pounds.

So, come dawn,

she does something
extraordinary.

If she wants
to keep this to herself,

which every cat does,

this is what they do
to hide that,

keep it away
from the scavengers.

That's gonna be
a huge cache pile

when this is done.

This is the kind
of clever trick

that a puma mom
must somehow teach her young.

So she worked
on that kill forever,

and so she's gone out here
over the rise,

bedded down and is crashed.

I gotta look at this thing,

'cause this is,
this is quite the pile.

Look at that.

But this is gonna be
what gives her away,

is that that's gonna be
visible to scavengers.

That's impressive, though.

That's impressive.

In all
Boone's years with pumas,

he's never witnessed one
make a kill.

That's how rare it is.

Again, he starts tracking

the female
with the three kittens.

She needs to find food soon
to feed her young.

I got a cat,
I got our cat.

Hey, she's starting,

she's starting to stalk
down the hill right here.

And there's guanaco
down there in the flat.

Let's stay high,
let's just sit down right here.

We've got elevation,
we can see it.

She's going to make a go
at these, I think.

Let's just take a break here
and sit down.

She is totally keyed in

to those guanaco that are
alarm-calling downhill.

She's just--vroomf--
and she's on.

There's one guanaco here,
about 150 meters from her.

She's making the stalk.

Her best chance

is to get within 50 feet
of the guanaco...

without being spotted.

She has gained
a ton of ground,

and right now
that guanaco has no idea.

Then...

There she goes,
there she goes, there she goes!

She's on it, she's on it,
she's got it!

In a lifetime
of tracking pumas,

Boone Smith has never seen one
take down prey in the wild.

But here
in Torres del Paine, Chile,

he may finally get his chance.

Oh, man,
she just got bucked off.

Oh, that hit hard!

She got on the back
and worked right up.

I thought she had
that neck bite right there.

And that guanaco
just slammed her to the ground.

She's up, she's movin',

I mean, she seems okay,

but, oh, that had to hurt.

I thought she made that,

I thought she was too far
when she started,

I didn't think
she was going to get there,

and then she was on it.

That was so close, man.

So close.

She'll have to keep trying.

But it's clear
her kittens are too young

to even watch her hunt
and learn.

Boone needs to come back
when they're older.

In the meantime,

there's another place
in Patagonia

where he may be able
to see some older kittens

learn the tricks of the trade.

He heads 200 miles east

to the coast of Argentina.

If rumor is correct,

the puma hunting here

is even stranger
and more surprising

than in Chile.

This is Monte León.

23 miles of protected
windswept coastline

plunging into
the Atlantic Ocean.

Boone first heard
a whisper of this place

more than ten years ago.

Sat in a room with
a couple different scientists,

they were all
cougar, puma scientists,

and we were
talking about anomalies

that were happening
all over the world with pumas,

and this came up,

and it was pumas and penguins,

which geographically,
in my mind,

those are not two things
that overlap ever.

Yet just over the rise,

the penguin part of this legend
is impossible to miss.

Oh, my gosh.

This is insane.

I can see penguins lined up
for well over a half mile,

like just penguins.

By some counts,

60,000 Magellanic penguins

come here for a few months
of each year.

During this time,

one parent
must stay on the nest

and protect the young.

So they are vulnerable
to predators.

No one runs,
no one does anything.

They just sit here
and squawk at ya.

Check these guys out.

Their little head turns.

Wings out.

All defensive.

That is the most I've seen
from a penguin right now,

like that one right there.

Not much of a defense strategy.

Oh, look at this.

Wow.

This is crazy!

There's literally
hundreds of carcasses.

Oh!

Now the smell's kickin' up.

Then,
confirmation of the culprits.

Check this out.

That's not a very big track.

So right there,

start measuring
from the tip of that one

to the tip of that one.

That's about 37 inches, which...

36 inches is kinda the average
adult female stride.

Let's set up right here.
We got a flat spot, it's open.

A stake-out

is the only way to see
what's really going on.

We're getting to
that special time of night,

sun's dropping,

so the pumas are about to
get up and go to work, too.

It doesn't take long.

With a special night lens,

Boone sees it.

I've got eye shine,
I've got eye shine.

I've got puma.

She's on the move.

It's a young cat.

Maybe just over a year old.

She's headed
right down into the colony.

This is
a puma-penguin showdown.

She went right down

into where there's a ton
of penguins right there.

But it's not
the Argentinian face-off

that Boone Smith expected.

Aw.

That one's just
given her the business.

And she's just like
having a face-off

with like 25 penguins.

She got up,
and she's turning back around.

Turns out

the penguins
aren't as defenseless

as you'd think.

This young cat
has a lot to learn.

And Boone hopes to see
if she learns from her mother.

As the sun comes up,
the young puma retreats...

and her mother steps in.

Oh, my gosh.

Just caught a glimpse of her
coming across the flat.

And...it's chock full
of penguins.

Look at that,
she's just slipping in.

It's like she's looking
for a specific one,

trying to choose
which one to take.

She just made her move.

Going after one.

Here she goes.

She's got him.

She just drug one out.

Look at that.

I don't know
what she was looking for.

After like
hundreds and hundreds,

she finally decides
that's the one she's gonna take.

And it's a chick.

You can see it was
clearly a chick.

That was very, very selective,

and it surprised me.

It's been a long night.

But the surprises
aren't over yet.

Got a puma, puma, puma.

And there's two,

there's two of them,
there's two of them.

It's the same two cats.

The hungry youngster in front;

her older, wiser mother behind.

The first one's goin',
the first one's goin'.

It's got one, it's got one!

First penguin it saw,
it just tagged it.

This time,
the youngster succeeds.

So I think it's a female

with a big kitten
that's over a year old.

Like mom's not doing anything.

She's just like
following behind, watching.

It just dropped it.
It's goin' after a second.

It's got a second one!
It's got a second one!

It's goin' after number three.

Here comes the third one!

It just hacked
a third penguin.

It hasn't eaten one of 'em yet.

Here comes number four.

It's gonna go kill number four.

It just smacked number four,

and mom's just
hanging out watching,

like she's just
watching it happen.

Yeah, they're gonna go,
she's gonna go feed on this one.

It's as though
mom's only mission here

is to make sure
the younger cat gets it right.

Yeah, just killed
four penguins,

a minute and a half,
two minutes,

and mom has not
made a stalk yet,

like she hasn't...

She's just
following along, watching.

It's like we're on
a training exercise for junior.

This starts to explain

why there's a lot of carcasses
laying around here.

Then, daylight
reveals a morbid twist.

No one saw this coming.

Oh, my gosh!

Boone Smith
has just seen a mother puma

teach her daughter
how to hunt penguins

in Patagonia.

But the surprise
is what they've left behind.

Here's the interesting part.

There's obviously
the bite that kills it.

But if you'll notice,

nothing else is touched on it.

It's just the brain's consumed.

And so the brain is
super high in fat, nutrients.

But I'm guessin'
they're living so good here

that you can just eat
like the best pieces.

It's like the candy shop.

You picked
your favorite candy type,

and that's what this is
right here.

Brain after brain.

The penguins
didn't stand a chance.

But back in Chile,

the prey is big enough
to put up a fight.

By some counts, large game
kills 27% of all pumas.

Now that the young cats here
are older,

it's time to see
what they've learned.

I've got cats,
I've got pumas.

I've got our family group.

Boone has given it
more than a year.

These three kittens have grown.

They're all there.
All three kittens are there,

and they're big.

Like the males
are the size of mom right now.

You know, now is that time,
that time for 'em

where it's gonna be
really crucial for them.

Because they're gonna
start leaving mom,

like they're gonna
start breaking away,

and now's the test--

have they learned enough
to survive on their own?

Now, mama brings
her young on the hunt.

So there's a guanaco
working down the beach.

It's gonna go right by where
they're bedded up right now.

A small guanaco,
isolated from its herd,

walks into
a nightmare scenario.

It could be
an easy beginner's meal.

And it may be
the first puma kill

Boone will see in the wild.

And they see it, they see it.

They've got eyes on the guanaco.

This may be the first time

mom has let her young
try a hunt by themselves.

It's gonna go
right behind them.

They're gonna make
a kill attempt right here.

Here it goes, here it goes,
they're goin'!

Ha!

Oh, man, that...

This is actually kind of
exactly what we expect to see

with young sub-adults.

That guanaco
walked by perfectly,

just dumb luck.

They're laying right there,

easy striking distance,

and it's kinda like

they weren't a hundred percent
sure what to do.

No wonder puma kills
are so rare to see.

So these guys have
just been screwing this up

hunt after hunt.

They are just bumbling
through this process.

They have got to
get this figured out,

or it's gonna be a tough go.

They need a confidence booster

before winter really sets in.

If they've learned
one thing from mom,

it's to go for the loners.

Another chance.

I think they're actually,

they're gonna make
another attempt right here.

Yeah, here it is,
here they go, here they go!

I can't see 'em anymore.

They went over the edge.

Alright, let's go around.

I've got 'em.
They're right...

They're right over the rise.

The young puma has a good hold.

Boone knows from experience

that this is the grip of death.

They made the kill.

I cannot believe that.

Ah, that's...

So, lots and lots of failures,

but this is how they learn,
a success.

Finally a success.

But how cool is that?

I mean, from little guys,

we watched them
from little tiny kittens,

to teenagers,

to now on their own.

And they just made
their first kill.

They've proven themselves

worthy additions
to the puma family...

all thanks to coach mom.

She leads
by her brave example...

lends a guiding hand...

And when the time is right...

she steps back...

and watches her little kittens

become big cats.

That's...that is amazing.

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