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Drone Captures More Than 60,000 Green Sea Turtles Arriving At Nest At Same Time

Somewhere in the world right now, nature is putting on a show. It's just a question of whether anyone is there at the moment to capture it for the rest of us to see, too.

In Australia, researchers just out doing their job were treated to one heck of a show, and because part of their task involved drones, they got some incredible footage that they decided to share, too.

Raine Island, which is just off the northern tip of Queensland, isn't particularly big or even terribly scenic.

Queensland Government

But as real estate goes, location matters, and Raine Island is prime real estate for majestic green sea turtles. Situated at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, Raine Island is a protected national park not open to the public because of how sensitive an environment it is.

It's both a critical rookery to seabirds, and it hosts the world's largest migration of green sea turtles.

Unfortunately, Raine Island has become a less welcoming spot for the sea turtles of late.

Queensland Government

The once ideal spot for thousands upon thousands of turtles to come lay their eggs has been slowly turning against them. The sea turtles's eggs must be near the water, but they can't be under water, and tidal inundation and erosion have taken a toll, changing the island's landscape.

It's not good for the adult turtles either, as researchers estimate up to 2,000 of them die each year after getting trapped on the rocky terrain, overturning or baking in the extreme heat.

So it's no surprise that Australian researchers have been working hard on making the island more hospitable for the sea turtles.

Instagram | @greatbarrierreeffoundation

The Raine Island Recovery Project has seen extensive re-profiling of beaches on the island to make nesting easier and keep eggs out of danger, as well as fencing added to prevent nesting turtles from wandering into rocky, cliff-top areas.

And, when the researchers are on site, they will take regular walks around the island to rescue any turtles that might have gotten themselves stuck or overturned.

In late May or early June each year, thousands of green sea turtles descend on Raine Island at the same time to make their nests.

Queensland Government

They swim thousands of kilometers just to lay their eggs on Raine Island. It's a harrowing journey, and of all those eggs that are laid, shockingly few will survive - just one in a thousand ever reach maturity.

It's also one of the largest migrations on the planet, making it an absolute treat to watch.

The Raine Island team took this incredible drone footage of turtles arriving for the annual migration.

The idea was to try to get a head count of all the turtles using Raine Island for nesting, but in the process, the researchers captured the wonderful spectacle of 64,000 green sea turtles all in one place.

Check it out!

h/t: Queensland Government

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