Drug-addicted parrots are locked in a vicious feud with Indian farmers as the birds plunder poppy fields for their next opium fix. The parrots perch in wait while farm workers slit open flower pods to help the morphine-rich crop ripen.
The birds then swoop down in silence to chew on the stalk below the pods, which holds the plants' potent payload.
The birds have learnt not to squawk during their raids so as not to attract attention. Footage shows them heading back to the safety of high branches to enjoy their haul.
They will often sleep for hours after an opium feast and occasionally fall to their death in a dazed stupor. Farmers say they have tried beating drums and even exploding firecrackers to scare the birds off but to no avail.
'It is difficult to control these parrots,' one opium farmer from Neemuch, India, said according to the Mirror. 'We have to spend hours in our fields to shoo them away.'
The bizarre phenomenon was first reported in 2015 but has since spread to other regions. Farmers have even reported that the Government's narcotics department - which monitors opium farms to cut down drug trafficking - has begun warning them over dropping yields.
Sobharam Rathod, an opium farmer also from Neemuch who has been given a warning by Indian officials, claims that parrots steal 10 per cent of his crop each year.
He said: '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. 'We have tried every trick possible to keep the birds at bay but these addicts keep coming back even at the risk of their life. 'We 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.'
Poppy raiding parrots were reported in Chittorgarh in the state of Rajasthan in 2015. But now they have been found 40 miles in Neemuch in the state of Madhya Pradesh.
Local farmers say that the number of parrots hitting their poppy crop is increasing every year. The Indian government controls opium production by asking farms to provide a pre-agreed quantity to the state.
The birds hit the farms between March and April when workers slit the poppy seeds to expose the latex beneath, which contains the drug morphine. This is processed chemically to produce heroin by drug traders.
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