Opium-addicted parakeets terrorise farmers for fix

Posted by Imogen on 4 March 2019

A large group of rose-ringed parakeets are causing devastating damage to poppy crops in the Madhya Pradesh state of India. The parrots have become addicted to the opium in the sap of the poppy bulbs. The birds began attacking farms for their poppy crops in 2015.

An opium cultivator, Nandkishore, told NDTV, ‘One poppy flower gives around 20-25 grams of opium. But a large group of parrots feed on these plants around 30-40 times a day and some even fly away with poppy pods. This affects the produce.’ The birds wait until farmers slit the poppy pods open so that they can ripen, then go in to feast.

Opium-addicted parakeets terrorise farmers for fix

Previously, the birds would be extremely noisy, alerting farmers to their presence. However, the birds have become stealthier in their thieving methods and silently attack the crops before making off with their takings.

Due to the addictiveness of the opium, the parrots have been returning to the crops multiple times a day. The area hasn’t received much rain and the damage the birds are causing to the crops has left farmers feeling helpless.

Some farmers have taken matters into their own hands by patrolling the crops day and night, making loud noises and using fireworks to prevent the birds from feeding on the crops. The farmers have also reported the pests to authorities, who have reportedly done nothing to help so far. Opium is legally farmed in many parts of India for medicinal reasons, under particular licenses.

Watch below to see the birds in action:

Image: Pixabay


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