A model whose face was seriously injured and her eyesight damaged by a leopard during a saucy photoshoot is finally able to see properly after a metal plate was removed and the bone shaved to reposition her eyeball.
Jessica Leidolph, 37, from the eastern state of Thuringia, was mauled by a 16-year-old leopard named Troja when she entered the big cat’s enclosure at an animal retirement home during photo sessions for an erotic calendar in August 2021.
Troja and another leopard called Paris, 18, had once graced TV screens in an advert for multinational electronics giant Panasonic.
But they were later moved to the 850-square-metre (9,150-square-foot) retirement home in the village of Wangen in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt where the attack happened.
Jessica – who is also known as Lady Butterfly – was airlifted to a clinic after the incident in which she suffered severe facial wounds. She told local media: “It repeatedly kept biting my cheek, ear and head.”
Now brave Jessica revealed that she recently had to go under the knife for a third time.
The model, composer of piano music and physiotherapist told the Bild newspaper: “I’ve experienced double vision each time I looked to the ground. When I turned right or left, my vision became blurred.”
She explained: “This seriously impaired my professional obligations as a physiotherapist. It also meant I could not take smaller animals onto my lap at my animal sanctuary.”
After having removed two metal plates from her head last year, surgeons now slightly lifted her left eye and carefully shifted it a bit further forward.
Jessica called the latest operation “a task in which millimetres matter.”
She explained: “To make a long story short: metal plate out, implant in, bone milled. Doctors call it an Orbital Post-Fracture Reconstruction.”
Jessica concluded: “Everything’s still badly swollen and my eye keeps tearing. But apart from that, it seems as if all went well. Two years on, that’s what I call a happy ending!”
Jessica previously underlined that she was holding no grudges against the wild animal and ensured that she has learned to live with her scars.
Jessica revealed she even appealed to the authorities to abstain from putting the leopard which attacked her down. She told local media: “I don’t want the animal to be killed, it just followed its instincts.”
Only a few days ago, Jessica delighted her 6,000 Facebook followers by posting a photo sporting nothing but leopard-patterned tights. Holding a cushion of the same design in front of her cleavage, Jessica commented on the image saying: “Be wild and wonderful!”
Reflecting on the occurrence, she said: “I’ve stopped being mad at the leopard a long time ago. It didn’t attack me intentionally. It just wanted to play. It simply acted the way big cats do.”
In December 2022, she even decided to pay a visit to Troja. She told local media back then: “I made a conscious decision to take this step. That I’m standing here today is part of my therapy which should help me to come to terms with the accident. Fortunately, my face is healing well.”
Jessica reportedly calls up the leopard’s carers on a regular basis to hear how the animal is doing.
In late 2022, Jessica disclosed that she and her mum Juana, 62, had opened a shelter for birds and small mammals in the city of Potsdam, Brandenburg, 30 kilometres (17 miles) southeast of Berlin.
She said back then: “I leased a piece of land half the size of a football field – with mature nut, apple and conifer trees.”
The animal activist then reportedly had an enclosure set up to protect local animals. Jessica argued: “These are animals without a lobby. I want to pick them up here.”
Jessica explained she planned to finance the institution with the revenue generated by selling her annual photo calendars.
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Story By: Thomas Hochwarter, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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