Breathtaking Drone Footage Captures Thousands Of Migrating Turtles

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  • Post last modified:February 27, 2024
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Amazing drone footage shows thousands of turtles migrating.

Ever see 64,000 turtles on their way to or from somewhere else all at once? Now is your chance to shine.

Off the coast of Raine Island, a 32-hectare vegetated coral cay off the coast of northeastern Australia, the world’s biggest green turtle rookery has been found. It is home to about 64,000 endangered green turtles.

The beautiful drone footage was taken in 2019 as part of the Raine Island Recovery Project, which aims to save the coral cay that is all by itself. The number of green turtle (Chelonia mydas) nesting in the area has been going down because of ecosystem loss and overfishing. The IUCN Red List now calls these turtles endangered.

Scientists on the island are working hard to protect the more than 60,000 female green turtles that come to lay their eggs here every year in one of the “biggest animal migrations” in the world. They are repairing nesting grounds and putting up fencing.

According to Anna Marsden, managing director of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, these amazing drone photos are helping to record the largest turtle numbers seen since the project began on Raine Island.

Since 1984, scientists have painted hundreds of green turtles and then visually counted each one to get an idea of how many there are on Raine Island. This is a hard and time-consuming process.

“When green turtles were breeding on the beach in the past, a white stripe was painted along their shells as a way to count the number of turtles.” Dr. Andrew Dunstan, a spokesman for the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, says the paint is safe and will wash off in a few days. “Next, we counted painted and unpainted turtles from a small boat. However, people are much more likely to look at a painted turtle than an unpainted turtle, which led to inaccurate counts.”

Here is a link to another great movie that shows how the counting method works.

The researchers say that observers on the surface “consistently reported larger proportions of marked turtles” than those using either the drone or the underwater method. This led to higher population estimates that may have skewed conservation efforts.

This is no longer the case, though. On the Great Barrier Reef, where science and technology meet, the Raine Island Recovery Project has already seen a 100% increase in the number of hatchlings.

Here is a link to another amazing video of turtles building nests.

A stone signal built in 1844 is the oldest European building in tropical Australia and can only be seen by people who are on Raine Island. It is an important environmental symbol that is not open to the public. Let’s hope that things stay this way.

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