A model who was attacked by a leopard has begged authorities not to put it down after it savaged her face during an erotic photoshoot, ironically for a fundraising calendar to support unwanted animals.
Model Jessica Leidolph, 36, who regularly published erotic calendars where she posed with animals, experienced the worst minutes of her life when 16-year-old leopard Troja attacked her out of nowhere during a photoshoot in a retirement home for show animals in the German city of Nebra.
After the animal’s repeated bites on her face, which led to severe bleeding wounds, the 36-year-old model from the German state of Thuringia was airlifted to hospital in the city of Halle on Tuesday (24th August).
However, instead of holding grudges, Jessica who will reportedly have to carry the attack scars forever, has now begged authorities not to put the cat down by saying: “I don’t want the animal to be killed, it just followed its instincts.”
Jessica recalled the grievous moment when Troja, who once graced plasma screens in an advert for multinational electronics giant Panasonic, rushed towards her.
The 36-year-old woman told German newspaper Bild: “He attacked me, I couldn’t look that fast. I was sitting by the tree trunk and all of a sudden I was lying on the ground. He bit into my cheek, ear, head, and then again and again into my head.”
She continued: “And then I screamed, put my hands in front of my face. At some point he let go of me for a moment, so that I could roll away and get out of the cage. A little later the ambulance and the helicopter were there.”
Nevertheless, Jessica who worked as an animal rights activist and a physiotherapist prior to the incident, revealed that she does not blame the 50-kilogramme (110 lbs) leopard or its owner Birgit Stache, 48, for what happened.
She said: “The leopard was secured twice by its owner.”
Jessica has been taking care of orphaned and sick animals for 16 years in her apartment in the town of Eisenberg, where she nurses swans, owls, fox cubs and hedgehogs, which she later poses with and uses the money she earns from the calendars she makes to help them find a proper home.
The woman added: “I wanted to stand up for these wild animals, to draw attention to the fact that there are hardly any accommodation options for them once they have had their day. Nobody takes animals like that. “
Meanwhile, the police started an investigation to determine who else was present at the photoshoot and what safety precautions were taken.
A police spokesperson said: “So far, there has not been a reason, from a structural or veterinary perspective, to take action against the retirement home for show animals.”
Despite having a 20-year-long experience and holding a legal license to keep the animals, owner Birgit Stache, 48 was issued a security law order by the district authorities, according to which she is forbidden to let “unauthorised third parties” inside the facility.
Archive Story >>> Leopard Attack Victim Will Have To Bear The Scars On Her Face For Life
Authorities indicated that Jessica “was only injured because she was inside the cage”.
Pro Wildlife animal rights activist Katharina Lameter, 29, urged officials to “immediately give the leopard away to a specialized rescue center.”
The investigation continues.
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Story By: Georgina Jadikovska, Sub-Editor: James King, Agency: Newsflash
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