Spell of Patagonia (02:51)
The South American wilderness stretches from the peaks of the Andes to deserts to coasts, housing unique animals. Bordered by Chile and Argentina, Patagonia is backed by the 2000 kilometers Andes Mountains.
Resilient and Adaptable Settlers (02:12)
A puma and her cubs nestle into a camouflaged den where she will raise them for over a year. At six weeks old, they are preoccupied with playing.
Lava and Gas (03:36)
At over 300 kilometers per hour, eruptions from volcanoes send ash and debris into the air in northern Patagonia, reshaping the Earth. Ash layered five meters deep resembles snow. Trees called monkey puzzles coexisted with dinosaurs and still exist with fire-resistant bark protecting them from the heat of the lava.
Bonanza in a Scorched Land (03:23)
Austral parakeets migrate to monkey puzzle trees, feasting on the seeds of the combs. The Andes Mountains of Patagonia are 4,000 meters high and 150 kilometers wide at the largest points and trap moisture in, creating weather and destruction simultaneously.
Mastering the Rapids (03:10)
White water rapids formed by the Andes Mountains and rivers flowing along the rocks drop at steep descents of over 3000 meters. Skilled paddlers embark on expeditions down rivers, often navigating down waterfalls one after another. Torrent ducks have big feet and stiff tail feathers to survive the rapids where they find their food.
One Lone Chick (03:55)
Torrent ducks teach ducklings to survive waterfalls, essential for their lives in Patagonia. The downy feathers of ducklings work as life jackets, trapping air, yet a duckling is still swept away.
Uniquely Patagonian Lives (02:44)
Creatures of the Patagonian forests are dominated by miniature creatures like pudú deer, the smallest deer on earth. The reason for their diminutive size stems from the lack of resources available in the forest. Darwin's frog also exists here, swallowing his own eggs to protect them in their development.
Finding New Hosts (02:19)
A parasitic mistletoe plant called quintral spreads itself to host trees by way of the green-backed firecrown hummingbird. Overnight, the hummingbird goes into hibernation and slows its metabolism by 80 percent.
Diminutive Climbers (02:45)
A nocturnal marsupial related to kangaroos eats berries from the quintral when the moon is high. Monito del monte or "the monkey of the mountain” assists the quintral by passing the seeds through its body and leaving them to bore into new host trees.
Region of Lost Hope (04:11)
Heading south, the forests of Patagonia become increasingly cold, ending in a wall of ice. At 20 degrees below zero, the largest ice sheets aside from Antarctica lock up three trillion tons of water. Beyond the ice sheets, wild horses dominate valleys where cowboys known as gauchos catch them for riding.
Earning Trust (03:45)
Three horses from a wild herd are captured by gauchos. A gaucho corrals a single horse, describing his lifelong interest in taming the wild creatures while working to saddle her.
Largest Predators of Patagonia (03:23)
After three hours of concentration, the gaucho is able to sit atop a mare's back on a saddle. Also in the plains are ancestors of llamas, the ideal meal of the puma. These are known as guanacos and hunted with stealth.
Meals and Baths (03:43)
Falcons and other birds feast on the body of guanaco destroyed by snowfall. A large Patagonian fox called the culpeo also drops by to scavenge.
Carnivorous Birds and Cats (02:12)
The Andean condor joins other birds devouring a snow bitten carcass. A puma spots a lone guanaco, but catching up to it is no easy task.
Puma Strikes (03:02)
The one-eared guanaco is targeted by a puma. It is disadvantaged by its one ear, but the hillside does not offer many hiding places for the puma aside from its camouflaged fur.
Reunited Sisters (03:24)
The temperature grows so cold over night that lakes begin to freeze over. The puma killed a guanaco overnight and camouflages it from hungry condors with shrubs. Puma siblings find each other again, not ready to permanently part. The creatures of Patagonia are resourceful and resilient.
Credits: Fire and Ice: Wild Patagonia (00:46)
Credits: Fire and Ice: Wild Patagonia
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