The new bobcat cage provides a rich environment with great opportunity for behavioral enrichment.

This week, we completed construction on our new outdoor bobcat cage.  It turned out beautifully–it has three levels so the bobcat has plentiful opportunities for climbing and jumping, areas of shade and sun, and a variety of surface materials that contribute to creating a rich environment to allow behavioral flexibility in the cage’s occupant.  The cage was originally intended for long-time permanent resident Tigger, but, sadly, he passed away before his new home was completed.  So, we are now using the cage temporarily as a rehab cage for the bobcat that was hit by a car in Belleville a few weeks ago.

On the positive side, she fought pretty spiritedly when we were putting her in a crate to take her out to the new cage.  With the help of a large net and some heavy gloves, we were able to get her into the crate without any mishaps, but it was a fairly nerve-wracking experience.  On the negative side, no one at TreeHouse has yet seen her outside the nest box in the outdoor cage, with the exception of a brief glimpse I caught of her as she slipped back into the box.  We know that she is leaving the box, which is on the second level, because her food, on the ground level, is gone each morning.  Still, at some point we will have to get a good look at her moving around in order to assess her condition and her prospects for release back to the wild.

For this reason, we are trying to obtain a camera that can be mounted in the cage, allowing us to record video of her activity when no one is around to observe it directly.  A trail camera with an infrared flash (such as the one found here) would allow us to to record video and still images of the bobcat both during the day and at night without disrupting her natural behavior.  If you are interested in making a donation toward the camera, please call TreeHouse at (618)466-2990.  Or, you can come out and visit her in person!–you can find directions here.

The bobcat has yet to leave her nest box when anyone is around to see, but visitors can still come out and see her.