Tiger Reserve Pilibhit is located in Pilibhit district, Lakhimpur Kheri District and Bahraich District of Uttar Pradesh state in India. It lies along the India-Nepal border in the foothills of the Himalayas and the plains of the ‘terai’ in Uttar Pradesh. It is one of India’s 41 Project Tiger Tiger reserves. Pilibhit is one of the few well forested districts in Uttar Pradesh. According to an estimate of year 2004, Pilibhit district has over 800 km2 (310 sq mi) forests, constituting roughly 23% of the district’s total area. Forests in Pilibhit have at least 36 tigers and a good prey base for their survival. 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.
Pilibhit Forest Division covers an area of 712.88 km2 and is situated between 28º52’- 28º46’ N Latitude and 79º55’-82º15’ E Longitude in the foothills of Himalaya adjoining Shukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve, Nepal (Figure 2.1). Administratively, this forest division is managed under five forest ranges namely Barahi, Haripur, Deoria, Mala and Mahof, which comprises of 52 Forest Beats (management units). This division is very important for long term conservation of wildlife in the Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) owing to its contiguity with the terai-bhabar forests of Surai range of Terai East Forest Division (FD) in the north-west and with the Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary (WLS) in the south-east. This division also provides connectivity to the Shukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve with Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary in India through Lagga-Bagga forest block, Tatarganj area of North Kheri FD and across Sharda river, Haripur range of Pilibhit FD. At places, this division shares its legal boundary with the human dominated matrices. In the east of the FD, North Kheri and South Kheri FDs are situated. Topography of most of the forest area is plain and the general aspect is south-west. The slope falls 2-3 m per km distance. The altitude ranges from 200 to 145m a.m.s.l. This division looses the characteristics of bhabar areas in the south and forms flat alluvial plains of terai. Lower water table and swampy areas are peculiar features of terai. Small ditches, ponds and perennial rivers such as Sharda, Mala, Khannot, Chuka and Gomti are the major sources of water. Main Sharda canal and other canal channels pass through the different forest areas of the FD, providing water for wildlife even during peak summer season. Seepage of water from these canal system forms swampy areas and many small ditches, providing good habitat for swamp deer, rhinos and tigers too. Sharda Sagar dam was built during 1953-57. This 22 km long water reservoir also acts as a water source for the FD. Most of the areas remain inundated during the monsoon.