Only donkeys with proper certification are allowed to be brought to Sabarimala, mentioned the Forest Department officials.
Passes for the donkeys are issued by Periyar Forest Division Deputy Director after proper inspection by experts, the officials said.
All the donkeys are given preventive vaccinations before they are issued passes. Veterinary doctors have been stationed at Pamba for inspecting the animals at regular intervals, they said ”Passes have been issued to 380 donkeys. Initially, passes were issued to 16 contractors for 20 donkeys each for a total of 320 donkeys. As the demand increased, again passes were issued for 20 more donkeys each to three contractors,” the officials added.
The donkeys are usually immune to diseases like the hoof and mouth disease. Any animal found unfit to work or that have fallen ill are immediately taken back.
Most of these animals have been bought from Kambam in Tamil Nadu.
They are mostly used for ferrying foodstuff, especially jaggery, to the hilltop.