A striking drone footage showing the world’s largest group of turtles while getting ashore, has recently aired online. The spectacular scene has been caught on camera a few mile off shore North Queensland and it show over 64,000 green sea turtle females heading to their inherited nesting grounds.
According to the Queensland Government, the massive flock was heading to the Raine Island to lay their eggs. The island, located 335 marine miles north-west of Cairns in the Great Barrier Reef. The place is known as the largest green sea turtles rookery in the world.
The authorities decided to use drones in order to make an easier count of the turtles. The green sea turtles has been declared a vulnerable species and over the last few years, the Queensland Government made massive efforts to help to recover the species. It’s how the Raine Island Recovery Project was born.
DID YOU KNOW? Green sea turtles are named after their green fat, which they get from their strict herbivorous diet of sea grass and algae. Learn more: https://t.co/IghBIKv3fu pic.twitter.com/dNvRSksBoV
— Oceana (@oceana) June 7, 2020
“Trying to accurately count thousands of painted and unpainted turtles from a small boat in rough weather was difficult,” Andrew Dunstan at the the Queensland Department of Environment and Science told 7News. “Using a drone is easier, safer, much more accurate, and the data can be immediately and permanently stored.”
The footage, initially released by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation on Tuesday shows over 64,000 turtles. That’s almost twice than the researchers initially estimated.
“This research is of prime importance to the understanding and management of the vulnerable green turtle population,” Dunstan, who also leads the project said. “In the future, we will be able to automate these counts from video footage using artificial intelligence so the computer does the counting for us.”