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NATURE: Pumas: Legends Of The Ice Mountains

A puma mother and her three cubs resting together. Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile.
Courtesy of Nicolas Lagos, © Terra Mater Factual Studios GmbH and Wildlife Films
A puma mother and her three cubs resting together. Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile.

Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV / Stream now with KPBS Passport!

In a hidden realm at the end of the world, amidst the massive ice mountains of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, condors soar, colorful caracaras keep a sharp eye out for prey and vivid pink flamingos make a theatrical appearance. This kingdom is the stronghold of the puma, a large mountain lion that hunts for guanacos – cousins of llamas – as they roam from the valleys to the hillsides.

Follow the fate of Solitaria, a female puma in her prime. The mother of four cubs, she hunts and teaches her young how to live in this extraordinary landscape.


NATURE "Pumas: Legends Of The Ice Mountains" is narrated by Uma Thurman.

NATURE: Preview of Pumas: Legends of the Ice Mountains

Buzzworthy Moments:

  • A puma mother called Solitaria raises four cubs on her own. A formidable huntress, she must provide for her cubs while teaching them to provide for themselves as well. One cub named Cazadora is the sharpest of the litter. In one heart-stopping scene, Solitaria chases and takes down a guanaco while her cubs watch and learn.
  • A sudden cold burst quickly turns into a blizzard. Solitaria leaves her cubs to find food, but the deep snow and sudden avalanches make it impossible to find her way back to her cubs. Days pass and with no sign of their mother, eventually, the siblings drift apart to find their own way in the world.
  • Months later, grown up Cazadora takes the lessons she learned from her mother to hunt guanacos, finds a mate and raises four cubs of her very own. In one memorable scene, she proves her dominance over a male puma who tries to encroach on her dinner. Cazadora turns her back on him and carries on eating, sending a signal that he’s not important or a threat. The male in turn must act submissive and beg for her to share.
NATURE: Mother Puma Teaches Daughter How to Hunt

Noteworthy Facts:

  • In Chile’s Patagonia region, the land of the pumas stretches the entire 5,000 miles of the Cordillera de los Andes (Andes Mountains). The Torres del Paine National Park is one of the largest national parks in Chile.
  • Despite a South American population of nearly 500,000, guanacos have a unique problem when it comes to reproducing. They must gather in November at exactly the right time of day to give birth so the newborn can dry out on its own. A guanaco’s too-short tongue prevents it from licking its newborn clean. Only one in four newborn guanacos will make it to their first year due to the predatory pumas in the area.
  • Pumas are respectful of other pumas’ territories, except when it comes to mating. Courtship is a weeklong dance of testing each other’s dominance. The male does not help raise cubs but may stay in the area so that his presence will protect the cubs from other marauding young males.
NATURE: Guanacos Rare Birth Ritual

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NATURE" Female Puma Snubs Male
NATURE: Behind the Scenes of Pumas: Legends of the Ice Mountains

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Credits: THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC, Terra Mater Factual Studios and Wildlife Films in co-production with Doclights/NDR Naturfilm in association with Vision Hawk Films and WNET. The film is produced by Dereck Joubert and Beverly Joubert. Also produced by Casey Anderson, Christian Munoz-Donoso, René Araneda and Candice Odgers. Narrated by Uma Thurman. For TMFS, Ivo Filatsch and Sabine Holzer are executive producers. For NATURE, Fred Kaufman is executive producer. Bill Murphy is series producer and Janet Hess