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Pench Tiger Reserve: India’s First Dark Sky Park

The Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Maharashtra has achieved the distinction of being India’s first Dark Sky park and the fifth in Asia. This recognition is due to its efforts in preserving the night sky and preventing light pollution, making it an ideal destination for astronomy enthusiasts.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recognizes the intrinsic value of the night sky as a natural, cultural, and historical resource. It emphasizes the importance of preserving natural darkness for the sake of nature conservation, ecological integrity in protected areas, and the well-being of communities in healthy cities.

Prabhu Nath Shukla, deputy director of PTR Maharashtra, stated that the escalating global threat of light pollution poses a significant risk to this invaluable resource.

Mr. Shukla also mentioned that the Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society Working Group, led by the International Astronomical Union, has recommended the establishment of Dark Sky Oases by national and local governments. The Dark Sky Place certification focuses on lighting policy, dark sky-friendly retrofits, outreach and education, and monitoring the night sky.

In order to promote stargazing, the reserve has inaugurated a night observatory with the district planning committee (DPC) fund. The designated area near Bagholi has been earmarked for this purpose. Additionally, measures have been taken to mitigate light pollution by replacing over 100 street and community lights in Wagholi, Sillari, Pipariya, and Khapa villages of the Paoni UC Range buffer area with downward-facing lights.

The Pench Tiger Reserve is renowned for its management and efficiency practices and is one of India’s top reserves, housing a significant population of Bengal tigers. It spans across the states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and is jointly managed by them.

Pench Tiger Reserve

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