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Jailbirds: Opium-Addicted Parrots are Robbing Poppy Farms in Madhya Pradesh

Parrots have become addicted to opium in Madhya Pradesh and poppy farmers are desparately trying to protect their cash crops from the thieving birds.

News18.com

Updated:March 6, 2019, 3:57 PM IST
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Jailbirds: Opium-Addicted Parrots are Robbing Poppy Farms in Madhya Pradesh
Representative image. (Credit: AFP)
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Parrots, formerly so ubiquitous to the trade of desi fortune tellers as well as providers of company to the elderly and the lonely, can no longer be caged as pets as per a 2003 government of India ruling. Indeed, it's illegal to confine and or harm the birds in anyway. That doesn't keep cockatoos from turning criminal though.

Parrots have become addicted to opium in Madhya Pradesh and poppy farmers are desperately trying to protect their cash crops from the thieving birds.

The feathered felons are have become adept at conducting air raids for the powerful narcotic, according to farmers and experts, and have been spotted munching on poppy pods growing in farms in MP districts such as Neechum as well as flying off with them after snapping the stems off with their beaks.

"The parrots are very disturbing. They come together in flocks day and night, bite the crop and take them away," farmer Nandkishore Dhaakad told ANI. "The whole family has to protect the crops; we have to set off fire crackers or shoo them away," he added.

Reuters quoted opium specialist R.S. Chundawat as saying the parrots are likely feeling "relaxed" and "stimulated" due to the alkaloids and steroids found in the buds. Given that the parrots are reportedly visiting the farms up to 40 times a day, feelings of relaxation and stimulation is sort of an understatement.

Opium is produced legally in certain parts of India for medicinal purposes by cultivators with a license.

(With agency inputs)
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