15 Jan, 2024
Gaze Into the Clear Skies At Pench Tiger Reserve- India’s First Ever Dark Sky Park!
In an attempt to protect its skies and natural environment from the adverse effects of light pollution, Pench Tiger Reserve has now been declared as India’s first and Asia’s fifth Dark Sky Park.
So, the question remains, what are dark sky parks? Dark sky parks are areas designated for the protection of night skies from light pollution, resulting in an environment that allows for the local ecosystem to thrive. These places are not only important for nature and wildlife but equally aid in research for those interested in astronomy. The use of artificial lights to provide visibility affects humans, animals, and hinders the ability to gaze into the celestial landscape with clarity.
At the Pench Tiger Reserve, a night observatory has been established with the district planning committee fund and the area near Bagholi designated for stargazing, according to the Deputy Director of the Reserve at Maharashtra, Prabhu Nath Shukla. As such, in the villages of Wagholi, Sillari, Pipariya and Khapa that fall under the Paoni UC Range buffer area, more than a 100 street lights have been replaced with lights facing the ground to minimize light pollution in the area. According to Shukla, the dark sky certification is a big step when it comes to the tiger reserve as it grants Pench not only national, but recognition at an international level. Another telescope has also been installed at a protection tower at Wagholi, which already has an observatory. With these new additions to the Pench Tiger Reserve, it is hoped to become an aid in education and research for celestial enthusiasts throughout the country.
Pench Tiger Reserve is one of India’s top reserves housing the population of the Bengal tigers and is often acknowledged for its management and efficiency practices. The reserve is located covering the two states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and is managed jointly by them.
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