Phoenix Islands, Republic of Kiribati
The Phoenix Islands are the central island group of the Republic of Kiribati, comprised of eight coral atolls and two submerged reefs.
In 2008, the Phoenix Island Protected Area (PIPA) was founded to protect the coral archipelago’s vital land and sea habitats.
PIPA covers an area of 410,000km², equivalent to the size of the state of California; this is the largest marine protected area in the Pacific.
Only around 40 people live in the Phoenix Islands, on the island of Kanton. Limited human access to the islands is vital in order to preserve this healthy ecosystem.
In 1937, famed American aviatrix Amelia Earhart disappeared during her round-the-world flight somewhere in the vicinity of the Phoenix Islands.
One theory suggests that Earhart landed at Nikumaroro, or Gardner Island; though some evidence has been found, there is no conclusive proof to support the theory.