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Pench Tiger Reserve: India’s Pioneering International Dark Sky Park

Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, the Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Maharashtra has achieved the prestigious recognition of being India’s first International Dark Sky Park.

Initiatives Leading to Dark Sky Park Designation

Night Observatory Establishment:

  • PTR has taken a significant step by establishing a dedicated night observatory near Bagholi.
  • This facility is designed to facilitate stargazing activities and enhance the overall astronomical experience within the reserve.

Lighting Infrastructure Upgrade:

  • Recognizing the impact of artificial lighting on the night sky, PTR has replaced over 100 street and community lights with downward-facing lights in the surrounding villages.
  • This move minimizes light pollution, allowing for a clearer and more pristine night sky.

Conservation of Night Sky:

  • The overarching goal is to protect the natural darkness of the night sky, preventing disruptions caused by excessive artificial lighting.
  • This conservation effort aligns with the principles of The International Dark-Sky Association, emphasizing the importance of preserving dark skies for nature conservation and community well-being.

 About International Dark-Sky Association Certification

  • The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) certifies Dark Sky Parks based on specific criteria, including lighting policy, implementation of dark sky-friendly retrofits, community outreach and education, and the monitoring of night sky conditions.
  • PTR’s certification as India’s first Dark Sky Park and Asia’s fifth Dark Sky Park underscores its commitment to responsible lighting practices and ecological well-being.
About Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR)

·       Situated in Maharashtra, extending across Madhya Pradesh, and part of the Satpura ranges.

·       Comprising the Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park, Pench Mowgli Sanctuary, and a buffer zone, PTR is a significant representation of the Central Indian Highland wilderness.

·       The Pench river flowing through the park serves as a vital catchment affecting water storage in the Totladoh reservoir. This reservoir is a primary water source for Nagpur and plays a crucial role in electricity generation for Madhya Pradesh.

·       PTR boasts a diverse ecosystem with a mix of Southern dry broadleaf teak forests and tropical mixed deciduous forests. The presence of various shrubs, climbers, unique trees, and bamboo plantations near water banks enriches the flora.

·       The reserve is home to various mammal and bird species, including the highly endangered Tiger.

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