Rajeshwar Negi, the National Convener of Nature Watch India said the decision was condemning the creature to a life without freedom.
“Don’t they know how stressful it will be for the animal to be transported on a bumpy 350-kilometer long road,” he told AFP.
“Does it mean the snow leopard will spend the rest of its life in a zoo instead of the Himalayan wilds?”
He added that the animal would also suffer in the higher temperatures at the zoo in Shimla, which is significantly warmer than its natural habitat.
As few as 4,000 of the mysterious animals could be left in the high mountains of central Asia — their sole habitat — according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Negi said snow leopards were being forced to move to lower altitudes and prey on domestic animals as the populations of their natural prey — the ibex and blue sheep — have been decimated by hunting.
Global warming is also threatening the survival of the big cat, with warmer temperatures pushing the tree line higher and prompting farmers to move further up the mountains to plant crops and graze livestock, encroaching on the snow leopards’ territory.