The Pilibhit Tiger Reserve is one of the finest examples of the exceedingly diverse and productive Terai eco-systems. It is home to a habitat for over 127 animals, 556 bird species and 2,100 flowering plants. A large number of rare and endangered species which includes tigers, leopard, swamp deer, hispid hare, Bengal floricans, etc. They are also home to around 6 million people who depend on them for their livelihoods.
The reserve has a core area of 1089 sq km and buffer area of 627 sq km (proposed). The northern edge of the reserve lies along the Indo-Nepal border while the southern boundary is marked by the river Sharada and Khakra.
In September 2008, Indian government has decided to reserve four new areas for Tiger including Pilibhit Tiger Reserve. Pilibhit Tiger Reserve lies on the India-Nepal border in the foothills of the Himalaya and the plains of the ‘terai’ in Uttar Pradesh. This new reserve would run through Pilibhit, Kishenpur sanctuary and Khutar range of Shahjahanpur, the existing one would have Dudhwa, Katarniaghat and Kakraha range of Bahraich division. Pilibhit, Khutar and Kakraha are reserved forest areas which will be converted into protected areas for the reserves.
In actual fact, Dudhwa tigers are distributed in one major and three smaller populations. The major population is constituted by Dudhwa reserve which includes Dudhwa National Park, Kishenpur and Katarniaghat wildlife sanctuaries and forests of Pilibhit, north and south Kheri while the smaller tiger populations are found in Bijnor forests in west, and Suhelwa and Sohagibarwa wildlife sanctuaries in east. The study done by Wildlife Institute of India (WII) shows that Dudhwa-Pilibhit population has high conservation value as it represents the only tiger population with the ecological and behavioral adaptations of the tiger unique to the Tarai region.