What is this animal? See clearer pictures of the supposed 'St Albans big cat' which could help decipher mystery
PUBLISHED: 09:59 04 January 2019 | UPDATED: 12:37 04 January 2019
Do these pictures of a "strange" animal hold the key to unravelling the St Albans Big Cat mystery?
Earlier this week, in a continuing series of reported big cat sightings around the district, this newspaper published a video taken of an animal scampering down Hall Place Gardens.
The photographer, a woman named Sara, said the “disorientated” and “strange-looking” creature did not look like a dog or a house cat.
Another resident, a man called Cameron who would prefer to only use his first name, saw the animal around Grange Street this week and managed to capture much clearer pictures.
The 27-year-old said: “It was my fiancée that spotted it in the back garden. She was shocked and shouted, so I came and we both looked at it and then I quickly took a photo.”
He had seen a different video of the supposed big cat which was shot in June 2017 by a taxi driver along Napsbury Lane at about 4.30am.
Cameron has his own theories: “I wasn’t sure [about that video]. To be honest we watched the video but it looks a bit like an actual house cat - and to be honest I think this is a fox that has some disease and lost all it’s fur.”
When approached, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo were unable to identify the creature.
There is much debate about the existence of a supposed big cat, with staunch critics up against a wave of converted eye-witnesses.
For example, in January 2017 two Oaklands College staff members saw “a large, sandy-coloured cat”, scratch marks were found on a tree after a “huge animal” was seen near Welwyn, and a big black cat was spotted by Luton Airport in 2016.
A Freedom of Information request in November 2016 revealed that Herts police received about 30 big cat reports in the five years previous.
Numerous theories have emerged to explain the sightings. For example, in January 2018 Jared Leavitt suggested it could be a Scottish subspecies unique to Britain - the European wild cat.
Honorary director of Welwyn-based charity The Cat Survival Trust, Dr Terry Moore, proposed that a wild feline could have come from an illegal private zoo.
Dr Moore himself reports two close-up encounters with pumas in Hatfield, among other sightings.
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