SHIMLA : A rare snow leopard captured as it savaged livestock in a remote village in the Indian Himalaya will be send to a zoo instead of being released, officials said on Sunday, triggering outrage from activisits.

The endangered creature was found on Saturday after it became trapped inside a pen containing sheep and goats in Giu village near the Tibetan border in India's Himachal Pradesh state

"The big cat was unable to escape from the enclosure after killing a few livestock,'' said wildlife official Hardev Negi, who led the team that caught the snow leaopard. 

''The shepherd contacted us and we captured the animal in a cage,'' the state's chief wildlife official  Savita Shirma said the snow leopard was not being  released since the incident involved ''wild animal-human conflict,'' adding it would be transferred to a zoo in the foothills outside the state capital Shimla.

Officials estimated that the juvenile animal killed 43 sheep and goats in the pen over four days.

There are only 44 snow leopards living in the high passes and rugged valleys of Himachal Pradesh  according to Sharma.

Rageshwar Nagi, the National Convener of Nature Watch India said the decision was condemning the creature to a life without freedom.

''Don't hey know how stressful it will be for the animal to be transported on a bumpy 350-kilometre long road,'' he said. [AFP]


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