They say don’t work with children and animals. Beyond the ethical implications of holding either one captive and forcing them to do the work, if you’re going to lease out an animal for work you should at least be confident it’s safe. This was proven not to be the case in a recent incident where a model was granted access to two leopards for a photoshoot but was seriously injured as one of them attacked her
The leopards, named Paris and Troy, were being kept on a private property near Nebra in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Eastern Germany. The center, reportedly owned by 48-year-old Birgit Stache, claims to be a retirement home for show animals, raising questions as to why they were available for hire for the photoshoot.
The victim, reported to be 36-year-old Jessica Leidolph, entered the enclosure voluntarily but was soon met with an overwhelmingly unwelcome reception. "It [the leopard] was constantly biting my cheek, my ear, my head," the model told Bild.
Leidolph's current status hasn’t been widely reported, but she is said to have been airlifted to hospital for treatment of face and head wounds. A mobile alert shortly after the incident implied the leopard had escaped, but this has since been reported as a falsehood.
Found in Africa and Asia, leopards aren’t commonplace in Germany – however, special rules in the town of Wangen where the incident took place do allow for the possession of certain wild animals. An investigation is now underway to work out if private landowner’s conditions merit their possession of two leopards according to local laws.
A thread that went live on Twitter earlier this year demonstrated the “bad day at the office” potential for zoo workers, as keepers shared some of the darker details as to what life at the zoo is really like. It seems the life of a zoo keeper is a rich and varied one, but, considering the below direct quote, we think we’ll stick to writing.