‘Evil Quartet’ Film Highlights Threats to Biodiversity in Armenia

YEREVAN–Vem Media Arts of Yerevan has completed the tenth in a series of eleven films about environmental issues in the Republic of Armenia. The new film, “Evil Quartet,” is about the threats to biodiversity. The 22-minute documentary was produced by Manuk Hergnyan, written by Inga Zarafyan, and directed by Hayk Kbeyan.

The film provides a scientific overview of an ecosystem and highlights several endangered species in Armenia, the impacts of human development on wildlife, and the role of hunting and poaching.

Zarafyan highlights the major threats to biodiversity identified by bio-geographer Jared Diamond of UCLA: aggression of species and overgrazing, hunting and poaching, chains of extinction, and loss of habitat, noting that “the music of this quartet is getting louder and louder in Armenia.”

The film includes testimony from experts at the Botany Institute, Zoology Institute, Center for Prevention of Infectious Diseases, World Wildlife Fund, and Saint Louis Zoo, who address the risk of losing numerous endemic species of rare flora and fauna found only in Armenia, with many listed in the Red Book of endangered species.

Since the Bezoar goat and Moufflon (wild sheep) are declining in numbers, for example, the Near Eastern Leopard is close to extinction.

The film notes that the natural corridors of the leopard stretch over dozens of kilometers in southern Armenia and parts of Nakhichevan and Nagorno Karabagh, and that they are highly valued by hunters. WWF wildlife expert Alexander Malkhasyan indicates that leopards are killed at a rate of one every two years, and that “if the situation does not change, we will lose the leopard forever.”

He points out that WWF photographed one of the rare leopards in Armenia for the first time in 2005, and for the second time in 2007. “The situation of leopards in Armenia is not good, with only 5-7 leopards remaining,” warns Malkhasyan.

“We have to realize the truth that while preserving the biodiversity of species we preserve ourselves as Homo sapiens,” concludes the narrator of the documentary.

The film “Evil Quartet” was sponsored by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, World Wildlife Fund Armenia, Armenian Forests NGO, and Armenia Tree Project, and it is available for viewing on Google Video. To acquire a copy of the film in DVD format with English subtitles, contact Armenia Tree Project via email at info@armeniatree.org.

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