Sangita Iyer
Sangita Iyer is the Director and Producer of the upcoming film Gods in Shackles, a documentary about the plight of Kerala's captive elephants tortured and exploited in the name of culture and religion.

Sangita is a highly experienced environmental journalist, an Independent documentary film maker, and a biologist.

She 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. Sangita 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 is 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. Among her public speaking engagements on climate change, Sangita delivered the keynote speech at the December 2012 Youth Environmental Network of York Region Conference (Toronto, Canada), and has presented at the University of Toronto, the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (Government of Canada), and the City of Toronto, as she continues to lecture in schools in Toronto and Bermuda attempting to instill environmental stewardship in students.

Sangita received the prestigious Social Sciences and Humanity’s Research Council (SSHRC) scholarship from the Canadian government, in addition to the Can West Global Communications Award and the George and Marjorie New Memorial Award for waste reduction initiatives from Royal Roads University in British Columbia (Canada), where she obtained her Masters in Environmental Education and Communication. Sangita holds 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's understanding of the living planet goes beyond the sciences, she feels profoundly connected with Mother Nature and Her creations and spends numerous hours communing in the wilderness, where she is inspired to write. "The single most influential person in my life is my son Vivek, who is the very inspiration behind the creation of the BEA."

"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).

Entries by Sangita Iyer

Silent Suffering in India

(20) Comments | Posted March 28, 2015 | 2:04 PM

A friend recently asked me how can a patriarchal country that abuses its women, and destroys girls even before they are born treat its animals compassionately? The question inspired me to delve into this conundrum and I found some parallel realities between the mistreatment of women and elephants in India.

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When Elephants Are Confined it's No Wonder They Get Aggressive

(16) Comments | Posted February 16, 2015 | 10:28 AM

Recently a temple in Kerala turned into a battleground after two elephants clashed and literally locked heads, causing panic among the worshipers and inflicting serious injuries to each other.

The elephant that provoked the fight, "Gokul" from Guruvayur Temple, was leased out as the main elephant to carry God's idol...

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The Indian Temple That's "Ground Zero" for Elephant Torture

(11) Comments | Posted December 29, 2014 | 5:14 PM

A world renowned Guruvayur temple in the southern state of Kerala (India) that has garnered the United Nations World Heritage Site status is the "Ground Zero" for elephant torture. This prestigious temple, glamorous on the outside, also has a sordid zone where some of the dark torturous practices continue unabated....

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Why I Made a Documentary About Elephant Cruelty in India

(9) Comments | Posted December 10, 2014 | 11:36 AM

The festival season for humans is a season of torture for elephants in Kerala. The cultural celebrations have barely begun in that Southern state of India, and five elephants have already run amok in the past two days.

A handler has been seriously injured and hospitalized, after a temple...

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Hope for Kerala's Captive Elephants

(2) Comments | Posted November 30, 2014 | 10:52 PM

A 72-year-old elephant, the famous Guruvayoor Padhmanabhan, is precariously balancing himself on three legs, as he is forced to do so to commemorate his 60 years of service at the world renowned Guruvayoor temple in Kerala. The image below seems to depict his 60th anniversary of slavery and torture, revealing...

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The Human Elephant Conflict in Kerala Has Deadly Consequences

(26) Comments | Posted November 13, 2014 | 5:04 PM

A baby elephant has been orphaned after it was captured with its mother from the Peppara Forest in Kerala (India), and taken to a local elephant camp. Apparently the pair was trespassing an agricultural land when the tribal community in the outskirts of the forest lit up high decibel fireworks...

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How To Awaken the Elephant in You

(2) Comments | Posted October 21, 2014 | 12:22 PM

Mother Nature has been the most powerful healing source in my life, and in this article I am inspired to share my profound connections with Her and part of my healing journey.

To begin, it's a miracle that I am alive today. I sunk into depression and nearly ended my...

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Expat Chinese People Need to Join the Fight Against the Ivory Trade

(4) Comments | Posted October 2, 2014 | 4:14 PM

Today the ivory trade is operating at its highest level since the 1989 commercial ivory trade ban was approved by Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), according to a ground breaking report entitled Out of Africa: Mapping the Global Trade in Illicit Ivory...

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The Agonizing Story of Nosey the Circus Elephant

(29) Comments | Posted September 8, 2014 | 1:53 PM

It seems like a never-ending saga for the circus elephant Nosey, who has endured insurmountable pain and suffering for at least a decade. Her story has come into the spotlight after she was found limping and faltering in her gait this summer, as humans enjoyed joyrides on her...

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India's Elephants Are Celebrated as Icons but Tortured in Reality

(4) Comments | Posted August 26, 2014 | 5:39 PM

What do you think would be the best birthday gift for someone who's in jail and shackled 24/7? How about Freedom? And what if we offered this gift to the embodiment of the Birthday God, Lord Ganesh?

Ganesh Chathurti falls on August 29 when Indian people will kick off...

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Examining Core Values on World Elephant Day

(0) Comments | Posted August 12, 2014 | 12:08 PM

Today is the third annual "World Elephant Day" honoring two magnificent species, and bringing global awareness to the plight of African and Asian elephants. These intelligent gentle giants are loved, admired and revered by cultures and people around the world. And yet, paradoxically human actions are pushing them...

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Let's Spend More on Wildlife Protection and Less on the Military

(0) Comments | Posted July 21, 2014 | 6:17 PM

Harmonious coexistence with each other and all sentient beings could be the ROI if countries divested some of their military funding into wildlife protection rather than waging war against nations to exploit their natural resources.

World military expenditure in 2012 is estimated to have reached $1.756 trillion...

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Step Up Law Enforcement to End Atrocities Against Temple Elephants

(7) Comments | Posted July 3, 2014 | 12:38 PM

A temple elephant that has been paralyzed by torture with a banned weapon is fighting for his life. His handler reportedly tied a knife to a nine-meter long pole and inflicted serious injuries on his front and hind legs. Apparently the elephant named Valanjambalam Ganapthy has been subjected to on-going...

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For Elephants, India's Trissur Pooram Is Torturous

(26) Comments | Posted June 4, 2014 | 5:30 PM

Temple and festival elephants were drowning in a sea of sadness as the masses gathered in the thousands to celebrate the annual Trissur Pooram in Kerala, India -- the largest congregation of male elephants in the world. More than 90 elephants took turns during a 36-hour festival to entertain the...

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"For the Love of Elephants" - a Documentary in the Making

(23) Comments | Posted March 31, 2014 | 8:55 AM

For the Love of Elephants is a feature-length documentary film in the making, an expose revealing the dark side of Kerala's glamorous cultural festivities that exploit captive elephants for profit, and the abhorrent torture these supremely gentle and intelligent animals suffer.

In my view, ignorance and lack of information on...

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Every Parent's Nightmare Is an Elephant's Reality

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2014 | 11:19 AM

It's a warm Saturday in summer, and as part of your weekend routine you're chilling in your own backyard with your partner, two adorable babies, and a few close relatives. Everything is peaceful and quite, and in the background you can hear sweet melodies of birds, and the bubbling brook...

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Don't Torture Elephants in the Name of Religion

(0) Comments | Posted February 14, 2014 | 4:21 PM

What would it take for a technologically advanced and modernized country like India to relinquish traditions that perpetuate animal torture and brutality?

It's commendable that India has banned use of exotic animals in circuses. But unfortunately the Animal Welfare Board of India has yet to ban elephants...

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The Elephant Who Stole My Heart

(5) Comments | Posted January 30, 2014 | 11:31 AM

Through my sojourns during my recent visit to Kerala, Lakshmi -- the most gorgeous 25-year-old female Asian elephant -- left an indelible impression. It was love at first sight the moment I stepped into her sphere of captivity. Lakshmi captured my heart and soul with her intense brown eyes, grace,...

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Seeing the Mistreatment of Elephants in India Was Haunting

(2) Comments | Posted January 7, 2014 | 11:31 AM

"An emotional roller coaster ride" pretty much sums up my 21-day whirlwind trip to India. It took me through the lush hills and valleys in the Bandhipur area near Bangalore (the silicon city of Karnataka State), where wild elephants are thriving, as the conservation movement in this region is alive...

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For Elephants, Indian Festival Season is Pure Torture

(3) Comments | Posted December 3, 2013 | 10:59 AM

Elephants, those gentle giants, are one of the most majestic, intelligent and fascinating animals. Elephants are both revered in religion and known for their prowess in war. Asian cultures admire the high intelligence and good memory of elephants that symbolize wisdom and royal power.


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