A model attacked and scarred by leopards during a racy photoshoot has opened her own animal sanctuary.

Jessica Leidolph, 37, entered a big cats enclosure in Nebra, Germany, for a few snaps last year when Troja, a 16-year-old leopard, suddenly lashed out and bit her cheek, ear and head.

Since recovering from the nightmare mauling as she posed for a saucy photoshoot, Jessica who is also known as Lady Butterfly, has become a fierce animal rights activist.

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The model and physiotherapist has now turned a chunk of land into a safe space for rescue animals in Potsdam, Brandenburg in Germany.

Jessica's attacker, Troja and another leopard living in the enclosure named 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 Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, where the attack happened.

Jessica was immediately brought to the hospital with severe bleeding wounds where she reportedly spent two weeks recovering after undergoing surgery.

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But instead of holding grudges, she then begged authorities not to put down the animal by saying: "I don't want the animal to be killed, it just followed its instincts."

More than a year after the tragic incident that scarred her for life, she now said: "I have scars. I often see double vision. But I've learned to live with it."

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The animal rights activist and physiotherapist then disclosed that she recently opened an animal sanctuary for birds and small mammals along with her mother Juana, 62.

Jessica said: "I leased a piece of land half the size of a football field – with mature nut, apple and conifer trees."

She then reportedly built an enclosure to protect local animals and said: "These are animals without a lobby. I want to pick them up here."

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