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Sangita Iyer

Broadcast journalist, Non-Traditional Environmental Educator & Film Producer (B.Sc., M.A.)

Sangita Iyer is a highly experienced award-winning nature & wildlife journalist, an independent documentary filmmaker, and a biologist. She received the Nari Shakti Puraskar (Woman Power Award) - the highest award for women making a difference in India - from the Honorable President, Sri Pranab Mukherjee on the 2017 International Women's Day, for her courage and dedication to exposing the atrocities against Asian elephants.

She is the Director and Producer of the epic documentary Gods in Shackles that exposes the truth behind glamorous cultural festivals in the southern Indian state of Kerala where temple elephants are exploited for profit under the guise of culture and religion.

Gods in Shackles has won 10 awards, including the Best Feature Documentary Award at the Cayman Island Film Festival, and was nominated at the United Nations General Assembly by the prestigious International Elephant Film Festival (UN, CITES, Jacksonhole Film Festival).

Sangita co-founded the Bermuda Environmental Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public on environmental issues, and providing practical solutions that would foster environmental stewardship. She has worked in the media for over a decade, and until September 2008 she was one of the most familiar faces of television news on Bermuda's ABC/CBS affiliate. Given this experience, she effectively harnesses the power of sounds and images in her environmental documentary films.

Sangita was the host, executive director, and producer of the Bermuda Environmental Alliance’s six-part series, Bermuda – Nature's Jewel, which received the 2012 Bermuda National Trust award for environmental awareness and is currently being used as an educational aid in Bermuda’s schools. A four-part miniseries was featured on Discovery Channel Canada’s Daily Planet, which draws more than four million viewers.

Sangita has received numerous awards including the "Founder's Award for Leadership, Sustainability, and Personal Development" in May 2013, and the "Award of Excellence" for her Masters' thesis documentary, Connecting the Dots: television news media and climate change, at the International Film Festival for Environment, Health, and Culture in Indonesia. In 2008 Sangita was named the "Best Broadcast Journalist" by the popular Bermudian magazine, and she also received the inaugural DeForest Trimingham Award – top environmental awareness award from the Bermuda National Trust for her 13-part documentary series Enviro Shorts. The series, which was commended by the Senate and the House of Assembly, is currently being used as an educational aid in schools.

In September 2012 Sangita was one of the few Canadians selected for The Climate Reality Project training by Al Gore, which further inspired her to write for The Huffington Post. She is a public speaker and has delivered keynote speeches, made presentations in schools, universities, and government departments.

Sangita holds a Masters in Environmental Education and Communication, a B. Sc. in Biology from the University of Bombay, India, and a post-graduate Diploma in Broadcast Journalism (Dean’s Honorary Role) from Humber College Toronto (Canada). Sangita has received numerous scholarships and awards. For details on her awards visit www.godsinshackles.com

"We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise" (The Earth Charter, 2000).

Creating A Culture Of Tolerance For Elephants

Two wild elephants were sentenced behind bars last month in Kerala. Their crime? They raided the crops cultivated on a land that once belonged to these animals. One of them has been deemed a murderer,...
06/22/2017 14:02 EDT
davidevison via Getty Images

What Kind Of Monster Would Feed Meat To An Elephant?

In the good old days, most Hindus did not eat meat, however, things changed after people from India began migrating to western countries. People can eat whatever they want, but the audaciousness of religious institutions to feed meat to a herbivorous animal, that too a cultural icon glorified as the embodiment of Lord Ganesh, is simply intolerable.
05/23/2017 11:41 EDT
Gods in Shackles

There Is No Denying The Cruelty Of Putting Gods In Shackles

As expected, the release of Gods in Shackles, a culturally sensitive documentary, has angered temple authorities, owners and brokers who abuse elephants to make money. Sadly, instead of trying to right the wrong, they are denying the truth and putting out misleading information to confuse the public.
08/10/2016 12:06 EDT
Sangita Iyer

Solidarity And Kinship With Nature And Non-Humans

At this juncture in our planet's history it may be worth pausing and contemplating that the well-being of human species depends on the well-being of the biosphere. Earth has provided optimal conditions for life's evolution, but human activities are offsetting the balance.
05/02/2016 03:19 EDT
Mozambique - Moments/Flickr

Solidarity For Nosey's Freedom

The saga of Nosey the African elephant has been escalated to The White House, as animal welfare groups renew their calls to confiscate the ailing elephant. This, after the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently renewed, Hugo Libel's license to exhibit the elephant, despite 200 Animal Welfare Act (AWA) offences and Nosey's deteriorating health.
03/29/2016 02:16 EDT
EyesWideOpen via Getty Images

Redefining The Fate Of Kerala's Elephants

Stories of torture, neglect, exploitation, frustration, devastation and untimely deaths of people and elephants coming out of Kerala are disheartening. Between January and mid-March Kerala has witnessed more than 216 stampedes, with three elephants and five people dead, including four mahouts and a lady -- a replica of 2015 and aligned with previous years. But people are always surprised when elephants or people die.
03/23/2016 11:59 EDT
Gilitukha via Getty Images

Elephant Abuse In Kerala Has Finally Gone Criminal

It's paradoxical that people in Kerala mourn and light candles after elephants die; it seems like a superficial display of compassion. If they genuinely loved elephants they would revere and respect the elephants when they are alive, and stop exploiting them in festivals and temples under the guise of culture and religion.
02/08/2016 05:20 EST
Barbara Lovett

Nosey The Circus Elephant Back In The Lime Light

The saga of Nosey the Circus Elephant is back in the limelight, with dissident voices getting louder. Despite nearly 200 animal welfare violations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recently renewed Hugo Liebel's license, so the ailing animal can be exploited for human entertainment, decries People for Ethical Treatment of Animals PETA.
02/02/2016 05:59 EST
Gods in Shackles

Heart Breaking Stories Of Temple Elephants Of Kerala

The fate of an elephant named Thiruvambadi Ramabadhran hangs in the balance. His trunk is paralyzed. Unable to eat or drink he stands helplessly, as his handlers are engaged in their own chats. To make matters worse, he has contracted infectious foot and skin diseases, and has been placed in solitary confinement.
01/20/2016 03:21 EST