Originally from the Naltar Valley high in the Karakorum Mountains of northern Pakistan, the snow leopard cub, now approximately 13 months old and 60 pounds, was turned over to Government of Pakistan authorities in July 2005 by the local goat herder who rescued it. The herder and his family had provided shelter for the cub in their home and later in their grain shed. As the cub grew, the herder approached World Wildlife Fund consultants working in the region for help and they temporarily took over the cub’s care. The cub was relocated south to Gilgit, where the Pakistani government assumed responsibility for its care.
...Wild snow leopards stay with their mothers until they are between 18 and 22 months old, learning critical hunting and survival skills. Wildlife experts note that this animal can never be released to the wild, given the loss of his mother and his exposure to humans.
The photograph on the left is of the snow leopard when he was a baby - we can see why someone would want to raise him at home - but the picture on the right is more intimidating. The State Department, after noting that Pakistan is an ally in the "War on Terror" (yes, the capitalized war on terror), says that since Pakistan doesn't have specialized snow leopard facilities, the snow leopard is being moved to the Bronx Zoo where there are twelve snow leopards. And the city's Wildlife Conservation Society (which runs the city's zoos) will help Pakistan develop a snow leopard program.
The Bronx Zoo's director Jim Breheny said in a press conference in Islamabad, "He'll be awkward in snow leopard social graces because he's been raised by people, but the big thing is because he was an orphan and wasn't with his mom, no one could teach him how to hunt." Aw. We can't wait to visit him. [Wikipedia on snow leopards.]