The Turtle Islands Heritage Protected Area (TIHPA) is the first transboundary protected area in the world, and its area of coverage spans Malaysia and the Philippines. It is the major nesting ground of the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) and is the only remaining nesting rookery of green sea turtles in the ASEAN region.
It is also the eleventh major nesting area of marine turtles in the world. Turtles lay hundreds of thousands of eggs in the TIHPA each year, with approximately more than 2,000 nesters. While the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) also nests in the TIHPA, the majority nests in the Gulisan Island, Sabah, Malaysia.
TIHPA comprises nine islands in the Sulu Sea - three in Malaysia and six in the Philippines. The Turtle Islands Park of Sabah in Malaysia comprises Pulau Selingan,
Pulau Bakungan Kechil and Pulau Gulisan. The Philippine Turtle Islands include Boan, Langaan, Lihiman, Great Bakkungan, Taganak and Baguan. Of the six islands, only Baguan is fully protected, having been declared a marine sanctuary through legislation in 1982.
The TIHPA’s mission is the conservation and management of marine turtles and other natural resources, taking into consideration the culture, traditions, needs and involvement of local communities, as well as national policies and laws of the respective countries, for the benefit of both present and future generations, and to make the TIHPA a model transborder conservation area.