The largest colony of green sea turtles in the world appears to be about twice as large as previously thought. Australian scientists say this on Wednesday after an observation using drones.
The footage released by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation shows thousands of sea turtles swimming through the azure ocean.
The observation shows that on Raine Island in the Great Barrier Reef, some of 64,000 female green sea turtles lay their eggs.
“When we compared drone counts to observers’ counts, we found that we underestimated numbers by a factor of 1.73,” said scientist Richard Fitzpatrick.
Raine Island is the largest remaining turtle nesting site in the world.
The finding is good news for his colleagues, who are deeply concerned about the decline in the number of green turtles.
The species is on the endangered species list because it is hunted, their breeding grounds are disappearing, or because they get caught in fishing nets.
However, the effectiveness of those protection measures has always been challenging to investigate. Until now, researchers have drawn a white line on the shields of the animals.
In the counts carried out from boats, it could then be seen whether a turtle had been counted before. However, that method turned out to be unreliable due to limited visibility in bad weather.