Does amateur footage show ‘St Albans Big Cat’ at Oaklands College?

Is the legendary Beast of St Albans prowling the grounds of Oaklands College?

Unfortunately not. As despite suggestions that a lynx cat might have been wandering the grounds of the Smallford campus, it turns out to be a pet Savannah named Sol.

Amateur footage by Herts Ad reader Tracy Hirst taken yesterday apparently showed a lynx cat wandering the grounds of the Smallford campus.

She said: “I spotted a lynx cat within the grounds of Oaklands College this afternoon at 3.50pm, whilst out walking my dog along the road towards the sports centre. The lynx crossed the road in front of me and then casually walked along the path to the side of the sports centre.

“I managed to grab my phone from my pocket and take this footage. I was certain it was a lynx having been a member of Whipsnade/London Zoo for a number of years. I showed it to a member of staff within the college’s Habitat Centre who confirmed it was a lynx, but said she wasn’t aware of there being any other sightings and confirmed it wasn’t theirs.”

However, the “lynx” turned out to be a friendly and domesticated Savannah named Sol, who lives near to Oaklands.

Owner Michael Glover said: “His unusual markings and long legs do give him an exotic look but he’s super friendly and affectionate. He lost his tail 18 months ago, we think he was trapped somewhere, so looks less ‘wild’ than he used to but people still mistake him for an escapee! We’ve always been a bit worried that he might get stolen or that someone will actually mistake him for a wild animal and try to hurt him.”

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Sightings of big cats around St Albans have been reported for a number of years, but things have been quiet recently.

There is another video of the supposed big cat which was captured in June 2017 by a taxi driver along Napsbury Lane at about 4.30am.

Jahid Choudhury had finished a shift and was driving home when he caught an animal on his dash cam.

He said at the time: “I have seen lots of big deers and foxes, but this is the wildest animal I have ever seen.”

Heated debate erupts every time an eyewitness reports seeing the big cat, for example when a dog walker found half a mutilated deer in April 2018 or when large “feline” pawprints were preserved leading through a golf bunker after a night of rain in June 2018.

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 previous five years.

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