This Gorgeous Drone Video Shows Over 64,000 Turtles Swimming Near the Great Barrier Reef
Mother Nature is really showing off what she’s got while humans sit in quarantine.
Since March, we’ve brought you some truly inspiring animal stories including the flamingos that took over Mumbai and glow-in-the-dark dolphins swimming along California’s coast. But now, Australia is getting in on the action with this gorgeous drone footage showing off its incredible turtle population.
A team of researchers from Queensland’s Department of Environment and Science (DES) captured the drone footage above Raine island, which happens to also be the world's largest green turtle breeding colony. The footage captures the adorable green turtles floating on the surface of the bright blue waters around the island.
However, this footage can be a bit deceiving. Though it appears the turtle numbers are thriving the researchers explain that these little guys are in a bit of peril.
"We sort of became aware that although there are these massive aggregations, the actual reproduction isn't working so well," Dr. Andrew Dunstan, who works for the DES, told CNN. As Dunstan explained, the team actually witnessed the turtles fall off cliffs and watched their nests become flooded.
To assist and figure out exactly what was going on, the team attempted to track the green turtle population. However, they first attempted to paint each turtle with a white mark and count them while aboard a ship. But, the team found this too difficult so they turned to the drones instead, which birthed the beautiful footage.
“The paint is non-toxic and washes off in a couple of days,” Dunstan explained to the Herald Sun. “From a small boat, we then counted painted and non-painted turtles, but eyes are attracted much more to a turtle with a bright white stripe than an unpainted turtle, resulting in biased counts and reduced accuracy.”
But, using the drones, they were able to find 64,000 turtles swimming in the waters, which was a welcome conclusion for the team.
"We were underestimating that a lot. We're finding 1.73 times as many turtles with the drone and as we do when we directly compare with the observer counts," Dunstan told CNN.
As for what’s next for preserving these creatures, Great Barrier Reef Foundation managing director Anna Marsden told the Herald Sun, “We’re taking action to improve and rebuild the island’s nesting beaches and building fences to prevent turtle deaths, all working to strengthen the island’s resilience and ensure the survival of our northern green turtles and many other species.”