Researchers have captured beautiful aerial footage of thousands of green turtles congregating on the edge of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef during the nesting season.
Scientists from Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Science (DES) captured the footage using a drone at the world’s largest green turtle rookery at Raine Island, a vegetated coral cay approximately 385 miles northwest of Cairns.
Green turtles, named after the color of their cartilage and fat, are found mostly in tropical and subtropical waters, and migrate long distances between feeding grounds and the beaches where they emerged as hatchlings, some 35 years after they were born.
The creatures are endangered and are under threat due to hunting, overharvesting of their eggs, loss of beach nesting sites and becoming trapped in fishing apparatus.
Raine Island is the biggest remaining turtle rookery in the world, but despite attracting a “massive aggregation” of the creatures, scientists noticed that they were not reproducing as expected due to nests flooding and inhospitable terrain.
“We sort of became aware that although there’s these massive aggregations, the actual reproduction isn’t working so well,” Dr Andrew Dunstan, from the DES, told CNN Tuesday, explaining that his team noticed turtles were falling off cliffs, becoming trapped in the heat and suffering flooding in their nests.
After implementing a series of interventions to help the struggling turtles, scientists then sought to track the population.
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