Puma Sightings a Sign the Natural Environment is Thriving

This account was written by Bahia Aventuras guide Reimer Brenes:

On one of my trips to Corcovado (I have the best job) in December 2012, I was leading a group of five tourists along the path known as Rio Pargo, (in honor of the red snapper which comes in at high tide). At the end of the trail there is a river where we took a break to rest. I observed the traces of a tapir in the Llorona River, so I began to track it, but its tracks were lost in the forest. I told the group I heard some noises in the forest, but I could no longer see tracks. I put my bag on the ground, and as the tourists returned to the river, I decided to remain a few minutes to see if I could see anything. Suddenly as I walked back to my bag I heard a noise, and when I turned I saw a big surprise. There was a puma near my backpack! He scared me a bit because he showed me his fangs like a dog ready to attack, and moved his tail like he was feeling nervous.  I stayed calm and picked up a piece of wood to defend myself in case he decided to attack. The animal remained quiet, so I pulled out my phone and took some photographs, then backed slowly away toward the tourists who were a few meters off. I wanted to alert them there was a puma so they could take out their cameras. While I was telling them what I saw, the puma walked toward the beach looking for a shady place to lie down and rest. When we found him we took pictures of him from all angles possible, like we were paparazzi! None of the visitors had seen one of these animals in its natural habitat, and it was the first time I had had an encounter with this big cat in my many years of visiting San Pedrillo.

Puma Resting on Beach at Corcovado
Puma Resting on Beach at Corcovado

During the early dry season, Bahia Aventuras guides and tourists observed pumas eight times in Corcovado. Some were adults and some were young. On one occasion we saw a full-grown male resting in the middle of the path. While these experiences do not happen every time we visit Corcovado, those who have had the opportunity to see a puma have an unforgettable memory of the natural wonders in our forests in the Southern Pacific area of Costa Rica. It is also a strong sign that this species is increasing in population, and that we are succeeding in our efforts to conserve this beautiful place.

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