India’s First Dark Sky Park

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The Pench Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra has been designated as India's first Dark Sky Park and the fifth in Asia, protecting the night sky and preventing light pollution.

About India’s First Dark Sky Park

  • The Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Maharashtra is India's first Dark Sky Park within a tiger reserve for earmarking areas around the park that restrict light pollution for stargazers to access pristine dark skies.
  • Dark Sky Place certification focuses on lighting policy, dark sky-friendly retrofits, outreach and education, and monitoring the night sky.
  • This designation positions PTR as a sanctuary where tourists can witness celestial spectacles, shielded from the intrusion of artificial light pollution.
  • PTR became the fifth such park in Asia. 
  • The certification was given by the International Dark-Sky Association, a global dark-sky movement to promote astronomy.

Key Facts about Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR)

  • Location: The Reserve is located in the southern reaches of the Satpura hills in the Seoni and Chhindwara districts in Madhya Pradesh and continues in Nagpur district in Maharashtra as a separate Sanctuary. 
  • It is named after the Pench River, which flows from north to south through the Reserve.
  • It comprises the Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park, the Pench Mowgli Sanctuary, and a buffer.
  • The area of the Pench Tiger Reserve and the surrounding area is the real story area of Rudyard Kipling's famous "The Jungle Book". 
  • Terrain: It is undulating, with most of the area covered by small hills and steep slopes on the sides. 
  • Vegetation: The undulating topography supports a mosaic of vegetation ranging from a moist sheltered valley to an open, dry deciduous forest.
  • Flora: The reserve boasts a diverse range of flora, including teak, saag, mahua, and various grasses and shrubs.
  • Fauna:
    • The area is especially famous for large herds of Chital, Sambar, Nilgai, Gaur (Indian Bison), and wild boar.
    • The key predator is the tiger, followed by leopard, wild dogs, and wolf.
    • There are over 325 species of resident and migratory birds, including the Malabar Pied Hornbill, Indian Pitta, Osprey, Grey-Headed Fishing Eagle, White-Eyed Buzzard, etc.

Q1) What is a Tiger Reserve?

A protected area statutorily designated for the conservation of the striped big cats is referred to as Tiger Reserve. However, a tiger reserve may also be a national park or wildlife sanctuary.

Source: Maharashtra Pench Tiger Reserve becomes India's first Dark Sky Park. All you need to know