Search on for young bobcat who escaped enclosure at West Michigan nature center

8-month-old Artemis last seen on Dec. 30

Artemis, missing bobcat from Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids. (Courtesy photo from Blandford Nature Center)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The search is on for a missing bobcat who escaped from her enclosure in West Michigan last week.

The Blandford Nature Center in Grand Rapids reported their female bobcat, Artemis, escaped her enclosure on the evening of Dec. 30, 2021. It’s not the first time she has escaped.

“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. This is following her escape two weeks ago, which we believed to be her brother Apollo at the time,” the nature center said in a Facebook post.

With winter weather moving into the area on Wednesday, nature center officials are worried because the 8-month-old bobcat has not learned to hunt in the wild.

“We continue to set live traps around the property and we’ve seen some sightings, or rather we’ve had sightings come into us, but not a ton of them,” Blandford CEO and President Jack Woller told WOOD-TV on Tuesday. “A lot of them we think are just large house cat tracks.”

“These bobcats didn’t have the opportunities to learn those survivable hunting skills,” Woller said.

“Artemis is roughly the size of a large house cat and her prey would range from rabbits to squirrels and smaller. At this time, the main concern is for her safety. These two young bobcat siblings lost their mother in a car accident shortly after they were born and would not be able to survive in the wild on their own - this was determined by licensed wildlife rehabilitators and they live at Blandford for this reason,” the nature center said.

Cougar/Bobcat/Domestic Cat size chart. (Michigan DNR)

The nature center is asking the public to report any sightings to the GRPD non-emergency dispatch line at (616) 456-3400. The male bobcat was moved to a temporary shelter at the John Ball Zoo until more upgrades to the enclosure can be made. (More ID info on bobcats/cougars here from the DNR)

Related: Michigan DNR: 10 confirmed cougar sightings in 2021


About the Author:

Ken Haddad is the digital content and audience manager for WDIV / ClickOnDetroit.com. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters. He's been with WDIV since 2013. He enjoys suffering through Lions games on Sundays in the fall.