Opium-addicted parrots are terrorizing poppy farms in India

6 March 2019
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Poppy farmers in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India have reportedly run into some trouble while cultivating this season’s crops. In addition to inconsistent rainfall putting a damper on things, flocks of persistent parrots — presumed to be addicted to opium — are rampaging through the poppy farms, sometimes making 40 visits a day to get their fix.

“One poppy flower gives around 20 to 25 grams of opium. But a large group of parrots feed on these plants around 30 to 40 times a day,” one poppy cultivator in the Neemuch district of central India told Indian news site NDTV.com. “This affects the produce. These opium-addicted parrots are wreaking havoc”.

According to NDTV, bird raids have become a daily menace in the poppy fields, and farmers claim to be sustaining significant crop losses thanks to these poppy-seeking parrots. Some birds have been filmed tearing into unripe poppy pods (where opium-rich milk resides), while others use their beaks and claws to snip off the plants at their stalks and fly away with entire intact pods. The Daily Mail reported that some birds have even trained themselves not to squawk when descending on the fields, swooping in and out like silent ninjas.

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