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A drone flying over the Pacific Ocean near Australia spotted the world’s largest group of green sea turtles. The turtles swam in from all around the Pacific Ocean and are headed to their ancestral nesting grounds on Queensland Shores to lay their eggs.
They say the turtles are known to appear on Raine Island this time of the year creating the world’s largest rookery. The island is located on the north end of the Great Barrier Reef and their nesting season lasts from October to February.
Scientists looked at the drone footage and counted around 64,000 sea turtles swimming together. Back before scientists had drones, they had to paint white lines on the backs of the nesting turtles to count them. They didn’t count them from the air though, they did it on the shore or on a boat that was being rocked by the waves.
As you can imagine the drone made observing and counting the turtles less invasive and easier to do. Andrew Dunstan, who works for the Queensland Department of Environment and Science had a few words about it.
Andrew told 7News,“Trying to accurately count thousands of painted and unpainted turtles from a small boat in rough weather was difficult. Using a drone is easier, safer, much more accurate, and the data can be immediately and permanently stored.”