Those who have seen the 101 Dogs program and might be interested in knowing what really happened at the estancia, I am telling the things as Ulises described them to me the same day it happened, through an excited phone call to my house.
A few months ago, Ulises decided to go to La Cocha to do some chores. For those who don't know it, La Cocha is an 8.000-acre estancia way up in the Cordoba mountains, about 3.500 feet high, and 70 miles from where Ulises live.
His idea was to go and return the same day, so she took his older daughter, Sofía, who is 10 (same as my Sofía). Travel was uneventful.
Once in the estancia, Ulises started doing some work with Tomás, the foreman. Sofía and Yoli, Tomás's daughter, asked permission to go to a giant fig tree, distant 700 yards from the main house, to pick and eat some figs.
They ran away. Yoli is much faster and limber than Sofía, so she reached the tree first. She started climbing the lower branches while the latter approached the tree.
When Yoli was about 7 feet from the ground, she started hearing noises up on the tree, like branches tweaking and leaves moving. She looked up, and saw a BIG puma jumping down the upper branches. The animal hit the kid with a paw and Yoli went all the way down, falling flatly on her back from 2 meters high. The cougar fell on his feet, roaring and looking at Sofía, Ulises's daughter, who had just made it to the tree. Probably looking to get the hell out of there, the puma jumped in Sofía's direction.
Neither of both kids were aware that Morocho, one of Ulises's top dogo, had been following them playfully, tail wagging, as he almost always does when they treat through the estancia.
The puma was in the air when Morocho jumped into the scene and grabed him by the throat. Both animals locked in a deadly embrace and all hell broke loose. The kids started to scream; Ulises told me "the first thing I thought was a poisonous snake"; told Tomás to run uphill while he himself circled towards the tree in his truck.
Tomás reached the place first; Morocho had the cougar pinned down. He knelt, too out his knife, and killed it.
Yoli was full of bruises and got a hit from the puma's paw but was otherwise not seriously wounded. Sofía was petrified in terror, but not harmed. Morocho was, as usual, scarred but happy and wagging.
Tomás and Ulises started to check the whole place; La Cocha is full of cougars but never had one ventured so near the house. They found a huge rock with a cave in it, and remains that proved the animal lived there. He was most likely taking a nap on the tree (it was noon, and warm) when the kids arrived.
It turned out to be the puma who had killed several of Ulises's brother's colts the previous spring. They had searched for him up and down in the mountains, and never found it. They never thought possible that the animal could be so near the house.
People from Animal Planet heard about the story, and the rest is 101 Dogs.
Anyway, those are the facts, for anyone interested.
Morocho De La Cocha, on the mountains of Cordoba. Took it years ago:
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