TRAVEL FEATURE - - LOUIS LA PLANTE
What to Do When You Meet a Puma on a Hike
“Do pumas kill humans?” It is one of the most commonly googled keywords about pumas. Yet, the top search results leave a lot to be desired if you are looking for a yes or no answer. (This article offers fairly interesting tidbit that might satisfy you.)
Gabby Preodor, a Chicagoan, didn’t have time to whip out her smartphone in late 2014 to google “Do pumas kill humans?” That’s because, just about 30 feet from her, was a puma.
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At the time, Preodor was on a guided hiking tour in Argentina’s beautiful Patagonia region with eight other hikers. Fortunately, her two tour guides from outdoor adventure company Antaras Patagonia knew what to do:
1. Consider yourself lucky.
Pumas are nocturnal hunters, according to the Mountain Lion Foundation. So in the highly likely chance that you are hiking during the day in an area where pumas live, then seeing a puma is incredibly rare. “The tour guides told us that their peers were going to be so jealous that we saw a puma,” Preodor remembers.
2. Take a photo--but don’t linger.
“Our guides told us to take a photo and move on,” says Preodor.
3. Don’t run.
The pumas aren’t hunting you. If they are not in your way, push forward on your hike. If they are in your way, choose a different path.
4. For god’s sake, don’t try to pet it.
Even if we are living in an age where “A Crazy Man Can Have a Pet Mountain Lion.”
For more on Preodor’s hikes in Patagonia, check out this story, “Why I Hike - A Beginner Steps Foot in Patagonia.”