Roaring tigers to starry nights: Maha's Pench Tiger Reserve becomes India's first Dark Sky Park
Maharashtra's Pench Tiger Reserve, a popular retreat for nearby cities in both Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, has recently achieved the distinguished status of being India's first Dark Sky Park. This status has been conferred on the reserve by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
In a concerted effort to combat artificial light pollution, the park authorities have taken measures such as reducing the number of street lights within the park. Additionally, they have replaced over 100 street and community lights in surrounding areas, villages and buffer zones with fixtures designed to direct light downward, effectively mitigating the impact of light pollution.
What is a Dark Sky Preserve/Park?
A Dark Sky Preserve/Park is an allocated expanse of public or private land renowned for its remarkable and distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal surroundings. These areas are safeguarded while reducing artifial light pollution, for their scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage values.
Initially, there was a proposal to designate the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary in the Hanle village of Ladakh as a Dark Sky Preserve. Nevertheless, owing to the diligent efforts of the local forest department, the Pench Tiger Reserve has now become the first in India to secure this prestigious status, affirming its commitment to preserving the pristine quality of its nighttime environment.
More about Pench Tiger Reserve
Spanning 741.41 square kilometers, the unreserved expanse commonly known as Pench National Park stands as an inviting destination for ecotourism enthusiasts.
Established in 1977, the park boasts a tranquil biodiversity comprising diverse flora and fauna. In addition to being a habitat for a substantial population of tigers, it shelters various other wildlife such as leopards, sloth bears, Indian gaur, wild dogs, wolves, and several endangered avian species.
Beyond its existing ecotourism activities, the park is set to introduce stargazing experiences, workshops, and astronomy-related courses, adding a celestial dimension to its offerings.