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June 21, 2020

Drone Video Shows over 60,000 Sea Turtles Swimming near Australia's Great Barrier Reef

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Researchers from Australia released a drone video showing more than 60,000 endangered green turtles swimming close to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, getting ready to nest.

The tens of thousands of green turtles were swimming around Raine Island, a coral cay off the coast of Queensland, Australia, as shown in the video posted to YouTube recently.

The island is said to be the largest green turtle rookery on the planet, as reported by Woman's Day. Apparently, the turtles were preparing to head to shore in order to lay eggs.

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EASIER AND SAFER

The officials initially counted the turtles utilizing white, non-toxic paint. However, they didn't succeed. In a statement, they informed everyone that they were searching for an alternative method to count the endangered creatures.

"Trying to accurately count thousands of painted and unpainted turtles from a small boat in rough weather was difficult," the researcher for the DES, Andrew Dunstan, explained.

He added that "using a drone is easier, safer, much more accurate" and that "the data can be immediately and permanently stored."

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GREATLY UNDERESTIMATED

Using the drone footage, they realized the number of turtles getting ready to nest had been considerably underestimated.

Richard Fitzpatrick, a researcher from the Biopixel Oceans Foundation, explained that researchers would now be able to count the turtles using one drone operator in less than an hour.

They are adjusted for aquatic life, with webbed feet and a streamlined body.

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AN IMPORTANT STEP

In the end, they were able to count up to 64,000 green turtles. According to Woman's Day, there are 11 species of green turtles that are listed as either endangered or threatened in the Endangered Species Act.

That's the reason this discovery is an essential step in ensuring the fate of the creatures. As reported by Fox 10, the footage was taken in December 2019.

It shows the most extensive population of green turtles since the beginning of the Raine Island Recovery Project. Turtles are reptiles with hard shells. According to Live Science, their shells shield them from predators.

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They have evolved millions of years ago, making them the oldest and most primitive groups of reptiles. Turtles live everywhere throughout the world in pretty much every sort of atmosphere. 

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They spend the vast majority of their lives in water. They are adjusted for aquatic life, with webbed feet and a streamlined body.

With such a significant number of different kinds of turtle, there is no average size. The biggest sea turtle species is the leatherback turtle.

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Turtles are not social creatures. While they normally wouldn't mind if there are other turtles around them, they don't connect or mingle.

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