A 36-year-old model was seriously injured by a leopard on Tuesday during a photoshoot in Germany. The woman – identified as Jessica Leidolph by local news outlet Bild – had entered the enclosure of two leopards at an animal shelter in eastern Germany. The owner of the property reportedly runs a retirement home for show animals.
Ms Leidolph had voluntarily entered the enclosure of the leopards, Troy and Paris, at the private property in Nebra in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, when she was attacked. “It [the leopard] was constantly biting my cheek, my ear, my head,” she told Bild.
Ms Leidolph was taken to the hospital by helicopter. It is not clear who had arranged the photoshoot or who was filming Ms Leidolph, but police said she suffered serious head injuries, reports BBC. She underwent an operation which was successful, although she will still have scars from the attack.
Jessica Leidolph describes herself as an animal lover on her website. She owns a horse, cats, pigeons and parrots.
Local authorities are now investigating the attack “but there is no danger to the population,” said Steven Muller-Uhrig, spokesman for the Burgenland district.
Birgit Stache, 48, who owns the retirement shelter, has refused to comment. According to her website, she is an animal trainer who takes in former advertising or show animals. The two leopards had once featured in Panasonic ads.
Laws in the state of Saxony-Anhalt allow people to keep big cats “under certain conditions”. The district is now checking whether Ms Stache can still be allowed to keep her animals. “We are investigating because of attempted bodily harm,” said the police.