Join Plus+ and get exclusive shows and extensions! Subscribe Today!

Opium Loving Parrots Are Demolishing Poppy Farms

Humans are by no means the only animals that take partying a little too far. From the case of the apple-drunk raccoons to the psychedelic gobbling leopards, animals have proven time and time again that they aren’t opposed to getting lit up like a Christmas tree. At worst, it’s usually a bit funny. Sometimes, though, it can cause some serious problems. Case in point: poppy farmers in India are currently begging the government for help as swarms of opium-addicted parrots are attacking and destroying their crops.

The poppy farms in Madhya Pradesh, India produce opium for medical use. After a season of unusually dry weather, crops were already struggling before the adorable assault of opium-addled parrots. According to NDTV, farmers say they’re incurring massive losses to their product due to the birds. One farmer, Nandkishore, says:

“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.”

Below is a video tweeted by Asian News International that shows the bandits in action.

Farmers have been forced to guard their crops day and night in an attempt to mitigate the losses. They have attempted multiple methods of deterring the parrots, including using loudspeakers and firecrackers to scare away the parrots. Nothing has worked. It turns out the parrots love opium more than they’re scared of firecrackers and loudspeakers, which should serve as a cautionary tale.

Lorikeets

I swear I’ve been to this rave before.

Nandkishore says that he and other farmers have reached out to government officials for help, but so far their pleas haven’t been answered. He says:

“We are already suffering because of uneven rain, and now this. Nobody is listening to our problems. Who will compensate for our losses?”

This isn’t the first time the parrots have come calling, either. According to the Mirror in 2017, the first clash between poppy farmers and parrots occurred in 2015, and has continued to be a problem since then. The birds are so determined to steal the opium that they’ve even adapted their behavior to go unnoticed. According to farmer Sobharam Rathod:

“Usually, the parrots would make sound when in a group. But these birds have become so smart that they don’t make any noise when they swoop on the fields. The birds start chirping when they fly away with opium pods.

[W]e keep an eye on them, but they also keep an eye on us. The moment you lower your guard the army of parrots silently swoop onto your field and take away the bulbs.”

And who says drugs don’t make you smarter? Regardless of how impressive it is, it’s certainly a problem. Not just for the farmers, but for the parrots as well. That’s not a healthy habit. Here’s hoping someone finds a solution that gets both the farmers and parrots some help.