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Shy Dolphins and Creeping Pumas: Capturing Patagonian Wild Species on Camera

New Documentary "Patagonia: Life at the End of the World" On Earth Explore one of the wildest places in Catch the latest episodes at 9pm. ET/PT Sunday on CNN.

(CNN)A male puma creeps through the tall grass of Paine National Park in Torres del Hepaine, Chile, photographed alone. It appeared to be heading straight for the crew.

A crew led by Chilean producer and director Rene Araneda had secured special permits to photograph the mountain lions from his main trail in the park. While the team was waiting for another puma, affectionately called Supermom, a strange man arrived. It was important for the crew to stand still and not move, no matter how close the puma was.

The puma received a small group of film crews and moved on to the real reason he had arrived: stalking the guanaco, a South American relative of the llama. Gone are the days, but it was just another day for Araneda and his crew dealing with Chile's unpredictable wildlife. Their knowledge and expertise is reflected in CNN's original series "Patagonia: Life at the End of the World"

"You have a script, you have an idea, you have a shot you want to do." But at the end of the day, when you work with wildlife, a lot of improvisation happens on location," Araneda told CNN. "It depends on what wildlife lets you do."

Close Encounters

I remember using it to take footage of lizards and snakes and recruiting my grandfather as a presenter. In addition to being a filmmaker, Araneda became a professional safari his field guide while living in South Africa. From that experience, he learned to respect animals, how to read their natural behavior, and how to do things in a safe way.

Araneda has worked on a number of documentaries on Patagonian mountain lions over the past decade. Cats are protected in Torresdell his Paine, and even farmers who once hunted cats as domestic predators are now making efforts to protect them. The male pumas Araneda's team encountered were likely migrating through the park, he said, as new biological corridors opened in recent years.

This park is a place where conservation biologists can study pumas up close. Observe pumas in action from 20 meters away. This is a method that can only be observed by US cameras in his traps.

"They show us their secret lives," said Araneda.

But at the end of the day, the park is mountain lion territory and a wildlife habitat visited by humans. Araneda wants people to respect wild places and keep their distance instead of ramming with selfie sticks.

All of the crew working on CNN's "Patagonia" documentary were assisted by organizations such as the local park service and Chile's National Forest Authority (CONAF) to film in specific locations and in specific animals. I have obtained specific permission from

By paying attention to the animals and their spaces, and bringing in scientists and experts, the crew was able to capture some great moments.

Cinematographer Mauricio Handler went underwater to capture a marine sea otter known as Chungungo in the quiet fishing village of Baia Mansa on Chile's west coast. Otters were once endangered, but have made a comeback in recent years.

What began as a challenging and freezing cold shoot turned into a "magic moment" for the handlers who captured the sea otters at play.

Real-Time Science

Araneda remembers the first time he met biologist Isaí Madriz in 2019. "In the middle of nowhere."

Madriz had been investigating the field for weeks when he boarded the boat Araneda was on. They talked for hours, and at the end of their conversation, Araneda learned that he would like to work with Madriz on a future project. These are the people," said Araneda. "It's the passionate people doing what no one else is doing that really makes a difference."

Madriz has a reputation as a "bug detective" and has been searching for new and rare insects. known to discover In addition to sharing details of the glacier-dwelling stoneflies known as Patagonian Ice-hi-Dragon, Madriz camped in the canopy of Chile's Valdivian-hi forest, offering pristine The crane caught his fly.

"The biggest challenge is to instill in everyone's minds that little ice dragons are as important or even more important than mountain lions and whales," he said. "It has the same value."

The elusive species caught on camera

shared valuable expertise and insight with the crew during the production of .

Christie studies the Chilean dolphin, one of the world's smallest dolphins, reaching up to 5.2 feet (1.6 meters) in length. These tiny dolphins, with their rounded fins and snouts, are endemic to Chile's coast but live in small groups because their habitat is so special, Christie said. Authors estimate that there are only a few thousand of these marine creatures.

Also, unlike other dolphins, Chilean dolphins tend to be shy and stay away from boats and people.

Near-threatened species are at risk of being caught in fishing nets, habitat encroachment and noise pollution. Christie, head of resources and public relations for Fundación Oceanósfera in Chile, wants to spread the word about this species because most people don't even know it exists.

Filming , Christie was on a boat with director Kate Lowry.

"We knew from the start that they would be very difficult to find," Raleigh said. "They are very elusive."

The dolphins appeared on the first day of filming as the ship sailed for the protected Guaitecas Islands. The crew provided drones and underwater cameras to capture species rarely seen on film.

Christie used overhead drones to see female dolphins and calves underwater and to observe their mating behavior.

"It was an unforgettable experience," said Christie. "I have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to tell the world about this little unknown dolphin from the end of the world."