Artemis Update: Search Continues for Grand Rapids’ Escape Artist Bobcat
After escaping from Blanford Nature Center for the second time in two weeks, the search for Artemis the young, orphaned bobcat continues.
Artemis and her brother Apollo are Wildlife Ambassadors at Blanford Nature Center; the Grand Rapids' nonprofit welcomed the young bobcats in early December. A few weeks into being at their new home, the approximately 9-month-old bobcat escaped her enclosure.
The first time Artemis escaped, she was caught in a live trap by a neighbor and Blanford Nature Center repaired her enclosure. As for how she escaped a second time, Blandford said,
Although this enclosure was approved for both bobcats by the Michigan DNR and USDA and alterations had been made following the previous escape, Artemis is intelligent and figured out how to open a latch leading to the main enclosure from their secure temporary one and managed to slip through a different spot.
Blanford Nature Center recently gave an update on the young escape artist, saying she'd been spotted on the preserve's property, but is still evading being contained.
The GR wildlife center sought to answer questions folks might have about the situation.
They say since her escape New Year's Eve, Artemis has been spotted on trail cameras on the preserve. As of Blanford's update January 24th, she appears to be in good health and is still in the area.
Blanford is also using live traps this time around:
We have been setting live traps around the area and checking them regularly. When the temperature is very cold, we close these traps to ensure she is not in danger of freezing. She has checked out the traps a few times but hasn't entered one yet. We continue to consult with local experts about the best search tactics.
Some might be wondering why not just give up the search if Artemis seems to be surviving in the wild - and why not also release her brother, Apollo, who has been staying at John Ball Zoo while Blanford continues to reinforce their bobcat enclosure.
Licensed, non-Blandford wildlife rehabilitators determined these bobcats would not likely survive in the wild because they didn't experience a critical learning period with their mother after she passed away shortly after they were born. Since then, they have been provided food by caretakers. Luckily, Artemis' natural instincts appear to have kicked in during this situation and she is surviving. It may turn out that Artemis doesn't get hungry enough to be trapped and makes Blandford part of her territory, but urban areas are not ideal for bobcats due to traffic and other human activity. Apollo cannot be released because he has not been in the same situation, and we do not know if he would be able to survive on his own. For their safety, we will continue our efforts.
The siblings were found in Hart, Michigan after their mother was hit by a car and killed this past spring. The bobcats were brought to Kelly’s Westshore Animal Friends where a licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator determined that they would not be able to survive in the wild and they would need to find a permanent home. Blandford Nature Center stepped up to be that permanent home for the young bobcats.
Blanford Nature Center is asking for the public's continued help bringing Artemis home. They've coordinated with the DNR and the Grand Rapids Police Department in the effort.
They stated previously that due to Artemis' age and size, she is not a threat to humans or most animals. She is around 17 pounds and about the size of a large house cat.
Anyone who spots Artemis should not attempt to capture her, but call the GRPD non-emergency line at 616-456-3400.
Blanford does note that recent bobcat sightings in other parts of West Michigan are unlikely to be Artemis since the know she has stayed nearby.