Pench Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra has made history by securing recognition as India’s inaugural Dark Sky Park, marking its position as the fifth in Asia. This prestigious acknowledgment underscores the reserve’s unwavering commitment to protecting the sanctity of the night sky and creating an optimal setting for astronomy enthusiasts.
Importance of Recognition
The International Union for Conservation of Nature, recognizing the intrinsic value of the night sky as a natural, cultural, and historical resource, played a pivotal role in conferring this distinction. Prabhu Nath Shukla, the deputy director of the reserve, highlighted the significance of preserving natural darkness for nature conservation, maintaining ecological integrity, and contributing to the well-being of communities in urban centers.
Global Threat of Light Pollution
Shukla emphasized the escalating global threat posed by light pollution and its substantial risk to this invaluable natural resource. The Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society Working Group, led by the International Astronomical Union, actively advocates for the establishment of ‘Dark Sky Parks’ by national and local governments.
To enhance the stargazing experience, the reserve has established a night observatory near Bagholi, funded by the district planning committee. Additionally, over 100 street and community lights in nearby villages have been strategically replaced, addressing light pollution concerns and preserving the pristine quality of the night sky. The Dark Sky Park certification process, as outlined by Shukla, focuses on critical areas such as lighting policy, dark sky-friendly retrofits, outreach and education, and night sky monitoring.
Important Takeaways For All Competitive Exams
About Pench Tiger Reserve:
- 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 of 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.
- 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.
Important Questions Related to Exams
Q1. Where is Pench Tiger Reserve located?
Q2. What river flows through Pench Tiger Reserve?
Q3. Which famous book is associated with the area of Pench Tiger Reserve?
Q4. How many species of resident and migratory birds are found in Pench Tiger Reserve?