Secret Life of Cougars and Condors – 04/30/2022

Nature documentary maker Rene Araneda (40 years old, Santiago de Chile) This was evident for the documentaries Our beautiful natural gardensavailable at NetflixShe didn’t want to fall into the picture of a cougar feeding her cubs. It has already been seen; He himself recorded it for the BBC or Animal Planet. For the episode focused on Patagonia, Team Arranida set out to record the cats’ socialization. The challenge was formidable, considering that until just two years ago, scientific evidence showed that it was a solitary creature. But the knowledge that the Chilean gained in the half-life that he was working in the area, and the refuge represented by Torres del Paine National Park predators, allowed him to capture up to eight cougars of different breeds who interact and share. prey around the lake.

When producers James Honeyborne (Blue Planet II) and Sophie Todd (Formula 1: Drive to Survive) met Araneda in the UK to invite him to the project, they made it clear that they wanted to dedicate one of Patagonia’s five episodes as an example of reconstruction, to the massive donations of wildlife to the state, and because they They were interested in showing how much wilderness there is in the southernmost part of the world. One would think that there were many human settlements in the area, but no. The diversity of Patagonia has made it possible to tell new stories, with a different look, to an international audience that has wanted to know more about the place for some time,” Araneda comments via Zoom.

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“What appears in the program should be 2% of the material, up to a maximum of 5%,” the documenter states. His team recorded for a year and a half in different corners of the 12 million hectares that make up 17
Patagonia National Parks. Some licenses have been granted outside the region to teach, for example, the deadly Araucaria forests in Conguelio National Park or the hunting techniques of South American sea lions to the penguins of the Diego Ramírez Islands, “the last patch of land south before Antarctica worldwide”.

At the meeting with the producers, where Araneda was offered to be one of the four editorial minds for the episode, they told him that Barack Obama, co-executive producer of the documentary series, will be the narrator, although this information cannot be shared with anyone. Not even with his registry. They also commissioned him to pick up how to use Andean Condor, in danger of extinction, was learning to fly. Araneda accepted the knowledge that recording this learning process is practically impossible. Not only because of the low density of Chilean symbol birds, but also because they nest in inaccessible cliffs protected by vegetation. It took 10 months to find one. Although strictly speaking, it was not he who found the nest.

To implement the program, different teams worked for three years – two of them during the epidemic – carrying out dozens of expeditions in national parks located on five continents. Rely on scientists who specialize in every animal or insect they want to teach. Also in the neighbors of the discovered areas. Araneda alerted the community of Aisne (2,000 kilometers south of Santiago) to contact him if they saw anything resembling a nest. One day he received a call from a couple. “We arrived when the bird, about eight months old, was most active, jumping off the ledges,” he recalls. The episode witnesses trial and error of the chick, until the moment he successfully achieves his first flight.

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Each sequence was then sent to an expert in the story’s protagonists and a park ranger from the National Forest Service (CONAF) for their feedback.

The Patagonia tour was a personal trip for Araneda. The first time I visited Torres del PaineFor example, remember the photos he took of the beach at Gray Glacier. “It felt much closer than it is now,” he laments. Melting caused by climate change has accelerated its decline, and now there is a rock with vegetation in the middle of the piece of ice.

Terry Alexander

"Award-winning music trailblazer. Gamer. Lifelong alcohol enthusiast. Thinker. Passionate analyst."

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