Big Cats and Horror Films

Last Updated by Steve Greenwood on
A Puma mother keeps her 2 young cubs close by in the Patagonian Andes.
BBC
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author. 

Each of the great mountain ranges in our series has a type of big cat who prowls the ridges. Himalaya has the elusive snow leopard, the Rockies has the mountain lion (also called a cougar) and the Andes has the Puma – actually the same species as the mountain lion.

"We were keen that each big cat told a very different story of life in the high mountains."

We were keen that each big cat told a very different story of life in the high mountains. For the snow leopard, producer Alex Lanchester and cameraman Simon de Glanville travelled to the village of Kibber, high in the Spiti valley of northern India. At nearly 15,500 feet it is one of the highest villages in the world and the villagers rely on their sheep and goats for survival. Alex wanted to tell the story of how villagers and big cats manage to share the same mountains without conflict through some ingenious conservation ideas.

In the wilds of the southern Andes it was the story of how a puma mother managed to feed her three cubs. Filming an ambush hunter who has evolved to be wonderfully camouflaged meant that the tracking skills of the team were tested to the limit.

For the Rockies, we stumbled on a great story of how a mountain lion was stashing her kills in a deserted ranch. When I first visited the empty barns and saw the ghoulish remains of the mule deer, I couldn’t help but feel I was on the set of a horror film. It’s a feeling that we put into the edit of the film – giving it a style that nods to the horror film ‘Paranormal Activity’. But more importantly, that remarkable footage shows just how smart that mountain lion is. Outside, she’d be seen by other animals – particularly magpies whose loud chatter tells everyone a big cat is around. Inside – she can eat her dinner in peace!

— Steve Greenwood, Series Producer

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