Pench Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra Achieves India's First Dark Sky Park Status

  • 15 Jan 2024

Recently, Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Maharashtra secured recognition as India's inaugural Dark Sky Park, becoming the fifth in Asia.

  • This designation aims to protect the night sky and combat light pollution, establishing an ideal setting for astronomy enthusiasts.

Key Points

  • IUCN's Emphasis: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) underscores the intrinsic value of the night sky as a natural, cultural, and historical resource.
  • The need to preserve natural darkness is vital for nature conservation, ecological integrity, and community well-being.
  • Global Light Pollution Threat: The escalating global threat of light pollution poses a substantial risk to the invaluable resource of the night sky, as stated by Prabhu Nath Shukla, deputy director of PTR Maharashtra.
  • Dark Sky Place Certification: The Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society Working Group, led by the International Astronomical Union, recommends the establishment of 'Dark Sky Oases.'
  • The certification focuses on lighting policy, dark sky-friendly retrofits, outreach and education, and night sky monitoring.
  • Night Observatory Inauguration: Pench Tiger Reserve inaugurates a night observatory near Bagholi with the support of the district planning committee (DPC) fund, providing an area earmarked for stargazing.
  • Mitigating Light Pollution Measures: Over 100 street and community lights in Wagholi, Sillari, Pipariya, and Khapa villages of the Paoni UC Range buffer area have been replaced with ground-facing lights to mitigate light pollution.
  • About Pench Tiger Reserve: Pench Tiger Reserve, spanning Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, is a premier tiger reserve known for its rich biodiversity. It inspired Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book, set in the region.
  • What is a Dark Sky Park? A dark-sky preserve restricts artificial light pollution around a park or observatory to promote astronomy.