These pictures and video are all over the internet and you can see why because no one has seen a puma, aka mountain lion, wandering around and resting on a small iceberg in the middle of what I believe is Lake Argentino. It is not the sea but a large lake in this magnificent nature reserve.
Where the glacier meets the lake bits of it split off and drift into the lake. The puma must have swum out to it. No one has suggested why. It does look strange. I can think of only two plausible reasons. Either the cat was searching for prey that was on the iceberg such as a seal, perhaps, or the cat was swimming across the corner of the lake and stopped off for a rest before continuing. I favour the latter idea as it is known that pumas swim across this lake.
Pumas are excellent swimmers, self-evidently. All cats are good swimmers, some better than others. The puma lives over such an enormous area from the south of South America to the top of North America that they have adapted to a huge range of conditions and habitats. So, it does not surprise me that we see one of them riding and iceberg in an icy cold lake.
Note: This is a video from another website. Sometimes they are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.
This individual climbs to the top of the iceberg and looks around before settling down in a small crevice. I’d bet she/he jumped into the water not that long afterwards and swam to the opposite shore; just having a rest. The swim looks as if it was several miles.
There’s plenty of water for them! The Times newspaper says that they depend on water from the glaciers and icebergs to survive. And we know that puma eat a wide range of animals including penguins in Monte Leon National Park which is on the east coast of Argentina at the same longitude (the same distance in the south of the country). So perhaps the ‘iceberg puma’ was looking for a penguin to eat!
I believe the photos were taken by a tourist on a cruise ship sailing on Lake Argentino (Lago Argentino). It was a great surprise to the tourists to see the cat. It was a once in a lifetime experience.
Pablo Mazzei, captain of the cruise ship María Turquesa said:
“We were taking 80 passengers on an eight-hour excursion …We spotted an animal that we immediately realised from the silhouette that it was of a puma”
P.S. The park is called Parque Nacional Los Glaciares in Spanish (the main language of Argentina) and is a federal protected area in Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. The park covers an area of 726,927 ha (7,269.27 km 2; 2,806.68 sq mi), making it the largest national park in the country.
Map of the area:
MORE ON PUMA ECOLOGY: