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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

"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).
Sangita Iyer

My Documentary Will Explore the Story of an Elephant Tortured to Blindness

We've gathered undercover footage of Lakshmi's entire ordeal. Gods in Shackles will expose the abhorrent torture that Lakshmi tolerates every single day. Her sad story along with that of four elephants featured in our film epitomizes the pain and suffering of more than 600 elephants of Kerala, whose welfare is being compromised for profit.
07/26/2015 07:12 EDT
Tiju Thomas

Season for Elephant Torture Is Underway in Kerala, India

The world renowned Trissur Pooram kicks off from April 29-30. More than 100 male elephants will be trucked in and displayed on the famous Thekkingkaadu Maidaan, in the heart of Trissur city. They will be transported from all across Kerala to the state's cultural hub, and paraded day and night, forced to stand for 36 straight hours, most of the time beneath the scorching sun.
04/24/2015 12:58 EDT

There's Progress Amid the Torture and Abuse of Elephants

Rightfully, the secretary of HATS has called for a ban to transporting elephants in trucks, he has told me that the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests is taking immediate measures to amend the elephant transportation rules that will also restrict the speed limits of these trucks.
04/07/2015 01:23 EDT
Medioimages/Photodisc via Getty Images

Silent Suffering in India

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. While elephants are being killed for ivory and exploited for profit, in the name of culture and religion, women are being exploited for dowry.
03/28/2015 02:04 EDT
Getty Images

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

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.
12/29/2014 06:14 EST

Hope for Kerala's Captive Elephants

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 Guruv...
11/30/2014 11:52 EST

How To Awaken the Elephant in You

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...
10/21/2014 12:22 EDT

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

Seventy per cent of illegal ivory ends up in China -- the world's largest ivory consumer, as the insatiable demand for the "white gold" is surging with the growing middle class populous. The root cause of this insane craving for ivory is ignorance. According to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), more than 70 per cent of Chinese don't realize that elephants are being killed for their ivory.
10/02/2014 04:14 EDT

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

Ganesh Chathurti falls on August 29 when Indian people will kick off 10 days of celebrations. Massive clay statues of the elephant god will be unveiled in homes and street corners, as sounds of drums and pipes will reverberate across the nation. But there's no relief for Lord Ganesh's embodiment, the elephant.
08/26/2014 05:39 EDT

Examining Core Values on World Elephant Day

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,...
08/12/2014 12:08 EDT

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

Over the past three decades, relentless poaching of wildlife has already wiped out several species of rhinos, and elephants, even as the surviving species are being pushed to the brink of extinction. However wildlife crime has come into scrutiny only in the past decade, and despite the emergence of stringent international laws, criminals are getting away scot-free.
07/21/2014 06:17 EDT

For Elephants, India's Trissur Pooram Is Torturous

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 insane crowd, mostly drunk and occasionally drenched by sudden downpours.
06/04/2014 05:30 EDT