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Slovakian Swans Get High On Poppies and Cannot Fly Away

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Farmers in Komarnó, a city in southern Slovakia situated on the banks of the Danube, are facing a disastrous season due to a flock of swans addicted to drugs.

According to reports, several swans arrived in the area as they typically do every February, but this year their behavior took a strange turn. Settling near the poppy fields as usual, they began consuming the poppy plants in large quantities. Unfortunately, heavy rains turned the plantation into a waterlogged area, and the swans started eating the stems with their colorful flowers.

In no time, the swans became literally addicted to the poppy plants. They exhibited strange behavior, appeared dazed, and were unable to fly. A farmer explained that the entire poppy plant, except for the seed, is toxic, but the swans were unaware of this fact, causing harm to themselves.

The farmers, astonished by the swans’ behavior, had never witnessed such a phenomenon before. The poppy plant is highly toxic due to the presence of alkaloids. Consequently, hundreds of swans became trapped in the poppy field, and many of them died within a month. The surviving swans are now being transferred to detoxification shelters by conservationists, although space is limited.

Apart from the swan fatalities, agriculture has suffered significant losses. The drugged swans are destroying crops, resulting in estimated damages worth thousands of euros. Unfortunately, the swans are protected by law in Slovakia, preventing growers from taking any action against them.

This protection also means that farmers cannot seek compensation from the government for the crop damage caused by these protected animals. Tomáš Ferenčák, spokesperson for the Department of the Environment, explained that swans are not included in the list of animals for which the state provides compensation since such damage caused by protected animals is rare in Slovakia.

The poppy plants in the region are primarily cultivated for food and pharmaceutical purposes.


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