Discovering a kodkod in the wild can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but Barack Obama’s new Netflix documentary series pulled it off.
Our Great National Parks is a five-part series executive produced and narrated by Barack Obama that premieres on Netflix on April 13. PEOPLE has an exclusive sneak peek at the new show, which explores breathtaking national parks on five different continents.
The documentary series tells the story of each iconic national park featured in the show — Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, Indonesia’s Gunung Leuser National Park, Chilean Patagonia, and more — through the habitat’s animal residents. Our Great National Parks works to show a complete picture of each park’s ecosystem by focusing on creatures of all sizes.
For the series’ segment on Chilean Patagonia, Our Great National Parks was “keen” to include footage of pudus — the world’s smallest deer species, which is found in southern Chile — and the kodkod — the smallest wild cat species in the Americas, which can be found across central and Southern Chile — René Araneda, an assistant producer on the show, told PEOPLE.
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According to Araneda, the crew wasn’t sure they would get the chance to film a kodkod since the creatures are “very rare,” live in dense forests, and had never been captured on film in the wild.
And then, one day during filming at Chile’s Laguna San Rafael National Park, the crew was having breakfast, and “a kodkod walked right into our camp,” said Araneda
“It was such an incredible moment, as these cats have never been filmed in the wild before. This can only happen in San Rafael National Park, as the kodkods here don’t see humans as a threat because of the park’s isolation and remoteness. 99% of visitors only visit the park by boat, and they go to see the San Rafael Glacier, never touching land. This is why these smart and shy animals are very curious and comfortable around humans,” he added.
In response to this fortunate surprise, Our Great National Parks took a few moments to film the curious kodkod at a safe distance, documenting the little animal enjoying its natural surroundings.
The exclusive clip Our Great National Parks shared with PEOPLE includes footage of pudus and the kodkod that wandered into camp, marking the first known time a kodkod has been captured on film in the wild.
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Obama narrates the video featuring the two tiny species, letting viewers know that kodkods are even smaller than the cats humans keep as pets.
These two creatures and dozens more are the stars of Our Great National Parks; meet them all and learn about the Earth’s most stunning wild spaces by watching Our Great National Parks when it premieres on Netflix on April 13.