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- Context (LM): Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Maharashtra has been marked as India’s first Dark Sky Park and the fifth such park in Asia for protecting the night sky and preventing light pollution.
- A dark-sky park is an area that restricts artificial light pollution.
- The purpose of dark sky parks is to promote astronomy and ensure that data collected at the observatory is not affected by artificial light.
Pench Tiger Reserve
- Pench tiger reserve is spread between the states of MP and Maharashtra.
- While the larger tracts of the national park are in the Seoni and Chhindwara districts of Madhya Pradesh, the rest are across the border in the Nagpur district of Maharashtra.
- Nesting in the southern slopes of the Satpura range of Central India, Pench Tiger Reserve comprises of the Indira Priyadarshini Pench National Park, the Pench Mowgli Sanctuary and a buffer.
- Pench National Park was established as a sanctuary in 1977, but in 1983, it was given the status of a National Park. Later in the year 1992, it was recognized as Pench Tiger Reserve.
- It derives its name from its lifeline – the River Pench which flows from North to South, splitting the Park into equal eastern and western halves.
- Fauna: Wild guars, tigers, leopards, monkeys and deer, dhol (Indian Wild Dog), hyena, wolf, jackal, jungle cat, etc.
- Flora: Mahua, Tendu, Saj, Chironji, Ber, Palash, Indian Gum tree, evergreen trees like Arjuna and Jamun, Bamboo trees, and various shrubs and grasses.
- Ain-i-Akbari, a 16th century document that recorded the administrative and other aspects of the Mughal Empire mentions the location, diverse flora, and fauna of the forest.