The Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) of the small pacific island Kiribati is the world’s largest protected area. It includes all eight islands of Kiribati: Rawaki, Enderbury, Nikumaroro, McKean, Manra, Birnie, Kanton and Orona and two engulf reefs, Carondelet Reef and Winslow Reef. The whole protected area is consisting of 408,250 km2 (157,626 sq. miles).
The marine and terrestrial bio diversity of PIPA is one of the most important natural habitats of the world. It is a home of hundreds of coral species, numerous reef fish species, colonies of sea birds, rare species of green turtles and many other scarce animals. The small republic of Kiribati has taken phenomenal steps to conserve all this unique wonder of the world realizing the serious threats for the uprising of sea level due to global warming. In fact nowadays Kiribati government is playing a leading role in the global conservations of ecosystems and natural environment.
The Phoenix Islands are a paradise of seabirds like Petrels, tropicbirds, boobies, frigate birds and terns which march in the air in countless numbers. Audubon’s shearwater, the vulnerable white-throated (Polynesian) storm-petrel, lesser frigate bird and blue noddy have their largest colonies on these islands. At present there are 19 species of seabirds living on the islands. These islands are also wonderful stepping ground for migratory and pelagic and plank tonic species. The lagoons of Kanton and Orana host the splendid giant calm communities and consist of the important nesting sites of the threatened green turtles and hawksbill turtles. Likewise PIPA is also a genuine oceanic wilderness for exceptional species of coral and reef fish.
On January 30, 2009, on the request of the Republic of Kiribati the Phoenix Islands Protected Area was included in UNESCO world heritage sites. The Government of Kiribati is continuously working to enhance access to the wonders of PIPA because apart from the biodiversity, PIPA also possess the cultural remnants of Polynesian and Micronesian settlement of the Pacific zone.