Iranian doc warns of poachers smuggling bird species into Arab countries
Art and Experience: An Iranian documentary warns about the illegitimate hunting of a specific species of birds, which are then smuggled into the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.
These birds, the houbara bustards that live in certain regions of Iran, are being killed so that rich men in Arab countries can improve their sex lives. According to a widespread myth, the meat of these birds has aphrodisiac qualities, although this folk belief is not supported by any valid scientific research.
Speaking to the Persian service of Tasnim on Wednesday, Fathollah Amiri, the co-director of the documentary “Houbara” explained, “The Houbara bustard is the largest bird species living in the deserts of Iran. They are widely smuggled into the Arab countries, and this has almost caused the extinction of these birds.”
“This documentary that I have made along with Nima Askari and producer Mohammad Ala shows how the bird and its eggs are sent to the Arab countries and the endeavors Iranian park rangers make to stop this problem, but we need people’s help in this matter,” he added.
The film crew spent nine years making the 67-minute documentary, which is scheduled to be screened in the 14th edition of Cinéma Vérité, Iran’s major international festival for documentary films.
In some scenes, the film shows the crew visiting Qatar, one of the major markets of the region for the bird.
“With this film, we have striven to draw attention to this bird species that is on the verge of extinction, although attention has mostly been focused on the extinction of the large mammals over the past few years,” said Amiri who has several other documentaries on the extinction of animals in Iran.
Amiri, endangered animal species
His documentary “The Extinction Vortex” on Asian cheetahs was screened at UN Headquarters in New York in March as one of the finalists of the World Wildlife Day film showcase.
He has also focused on the extinction of Asian cheetahs in his 2017 documentary “In the Whirlpool of Extinction”.
He made “Tanhavash” in 2016. The film traces the Iranian cheetah, the sole survivor of the extinct species of the Asian Cheetah that still remains in the country.
Amir is also the director of “In the Realm of the Spider-Tailed Viper” about the spider-tailed viper that lives in the western Iranian province of Ilam.
The documentary won the audience award at the 12th Cinéma Vérité festival in 2018.
The film also brought Iranian farmer Mahmud Mansuri the Icon Films Emerging Talent Award at the Wildscreen Festival in Bristol in southwestern England in October 2018.
He received the honor for his collaboration with Amiri and his crew in the project made at the Wildlife Pictures Institute, a Tehran-based center producing films on wildlife.
“This revealing documentary explains the discovery of a rare and unique snake called the Spider-Tailed Horned Viper and the amazing man who made it happen,” the institute wrote in a statement.
“On the journey to discover this snake, our production team met up with a farmer named Mahmud, and sought his help to find the rare viper. During the making of this documentary, some strange things happened, and the destiny of Mahmoud has been changed,” it added.