Australian researchers release footage of 64,000 endangered turtles nesting near Great Barrier Reef

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At least 64,000 endangered green turtles were spotted on and around Raine Island in the Great Barrier Reef late last year.

Drone footage taken in December 2019 helped scientists working on the Raine Island Recovery Project to count the number of green turtles that gathered to nest on Raine Island - the largest rookery, or nesting place, in the world for these animals – the Queensland Department of Environment and Science said.

Lead researcher Dr Andrew Dunstan said aerial footage, along with the use of nontoxic paint to mark the turtles, has been the "most efficient survey method" for counting the turtles.

Previous methods, such as observation from boats, resulted in inaccuracies.

"When we compared drone counts to observer counts we found that we had underestimated the numbers in the past by a factor of 1.73," said Biopixel Oceans Foundation researcher Richard Fitzpatrick, adding that the drones also allowed for the work to be completed more quickly.

In the press release, researchers said the 2019 total shows the largest population of green turtles since the start of the Raine Island Recovery Project.

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Pictures of the week: June 7 - 13
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Pictures of the week: June 7 - 13
BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - JUNE 12: Tailor Gary Keenan (R) of Bogart Menswear measures up a suit using a customer pod designed to keep customers safe from Covid-19 after their store reopened for business on June 12, 2020 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. After being shuttered for months to curb the spread of Covid-19, retailers here reopened with social distancing measures, a few days ahead of when similar businesses can reopen in England. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Bryn Hughes (L), the father of Pc Nicola Hughes, and Paul Bone, the father of Pc Fiona Bone, during a groundbreaking ceremony for the new UK Police Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alreewas, Staffordshire.
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JUNE 12: Hollie Doyle heads out of the weighing room to the paddock prior to a race at Wolverhampton Racecourse on June 12, 2020 in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by Steve Davies/Pool via Getty Images)
Boards being put up around the statue of Thomas Guy at Guy's hospital in London, following a raft of Black Lives Matter protests that took place across the UK over the weekend. The protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis.
Local residents show their support for a statue of Robert Baden-Powell on Poole Quay in Dorset ahead of its expected removal to "safe storage" following concerns about his actions while in the military and "Nazi sympathies". The action follows a raft of Black Lives Matter protests across the UK, sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis.
Locals show their support for a statue of Robert Baden-Powell on Poole Quay in Dorset ahead of its expected removal to "safe storage" following concerns about his actions while in the military and "Nazi sympathies". The action follows a raft of Black Lives Matter protests across the UK, sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis.
Two people cover under their clothes to protect from a rain shower as they row a boat on the river Thames at Windsor, as the the UK is forecast to be hit with heavy showers, strong gales and colder temperatures over the weekend, with Britons being warned not to move gatherings indoors.
Amanda Holden seen with an umbrella departing the Global Radio Studios in London. (Photo by Brett Cove / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A sticker placed on the tongue of one of the lion sculptures in Trafalgar Square, London, following a raft of Black Lives Matter protests that took place across the UK over the weekend. The protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis.
Cecil Rhodes statue stands at the front facade of the Oriel College in Oxford during the protest. Cecil was an English-born businessman, mining magnate, and politician in South Africa. The founder of the diamond company De Beers and the founder of the state of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) , which was named after him. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign was reignited from a 2016 campaign following recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations after the demise of George Floyd under police custody in Mineapolis. Despite the Covid19 lockdown, protesters globally have united to demand change. (Photo by David Mbiyu / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Protesters hold Rhodes Must Fall placards during the demonstration. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign was reignited from a 2016 campaign following recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations after the demise of George Floyd under police custody in Mineapolis. Despite the Covid19 lockdown, protesters globally have united to demand change. (Photo by David Mbiyu / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Police during a protest calling for the removal of the statue of 19th century imperialist, politician Cecil Rhodes from an Oxford college which has reignited amid anti-racism demonstrations.
A cyclist passes graffiti in Edinburgh following a raft of Black Lives Matter protests took place across the UK over the weekend. The protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis.
Locals show their support for a statue of Robert Baden-Powell on Poole Quay in Dorset ahead of its expected removal to "safe storage" following concerns about his actions while in the military and "Nazi sympathies". The action follows a raft of Black Lives Matter protests across the UK, sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson departs 10 Downing Street, in Westminster, London, to attend Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) at the Houses of Parliament. Picture date: Wednesday June 10, 2020. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/Empics
A worker cleans graffiti from the plinth of the statue of Sir Winston Churchill at Parliament Square in London, following a Black Lives Matter protest at the weekend. A raft of protests across the UK were sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis.
A worker collects discarded placards from Victoria Tower Gardens in Westminster, London, following a Black Lives Matter protest at the weekend. A raft of protests across the UK were sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis.
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Member of the public Graham Newby cleans graffiti, that included the letters BLM and the words "murderer" and "slave owner", from a statue of Queen Victoria in Woodhouse Moor, Leeds, following a raft of Black Lives Matter protests that took place across the UK over the weekend. The protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis.
A person with a sign protesting 'British History Matters' alongside the statue of Robert Baden-Powell on Poole Quay in Dorset. The statue is due to be removed and placed in "safe storage" following concerns about his actions while in the military and "Nazi sympathies". The action follows a raft of Black Lives Matter protests across the UK, sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis.
A person holds a sign during a Black Lives Matter protest in Edinburgh, following a raft of protests that took place across the UK over the weekend. The protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis.
A woman looks at a graffiti art piece on Black Lives Matter on a wall in the Stokes Croft area of Bristol following a raft of Black Lives Matter protests took place across the UK over the weekend. The protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis.
McDonald's Shirley Road in Southampton operates under social distance measures as lockdown restrictions have been relaxed during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic
Council workers clean graffiti, that included the letters "BLM" and the words "murderer" and "slave owner", from a statue of Queen Victoria in Woodhouse Moor, Leeds, following a raft of Black Lives Matter protests that took place across the UK over the weekend. The protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis.
A policeman stands at the edge of an anti-racism protest in Queens Gardens, Hull, following a raft of Black Lives Matter protests that took place across the UK over the weekend. The protests were sparked by the death of George Floyd, who was killed on May 25 while in police custody in the US city of Minneapolis.
A member of staff has their temperature checked as they arrived to work at Woodford Dental Care in north London, as the practice opens up for the first time since the UK went into coronavirus lockdown.
CHELMSFORD, ENGLAND - JUNE 08: David Egan riding Queen of Silca (orange) win The Chelmsford Handicap at Chelmsford City Racecourse on June 08, 2020 in Chelmsford, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Dentist Dr Roy Woodhoo and Dental Nurse Charlie Coppen wear PPE to examine the first patient through the doors at Woodford Dental Care in north London, as the practice opens up for the first time since the UK went into coronavirus lockdown.
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - JUNE 13: Queen Elizabeth II attends a ceremony to mark her official birthday at Windsor Castle on June 13, 2020 in Windsor, England. The Queen celebrates her 94th birthday this year, in line with Government advice, it was agreed that The Queen's Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, would not go ahead in its traditional form. (Photo by Paul Edwards - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
WINDSOR, ENGLAND - JUNE 13: Members of the Welsh Guards perform in a ceremony to mark Britain's Queen Elizabeth's official birthday at Windsor Castle on June 13, 2020 in Windsor, England. The Queen celebrates her 94th birthday this year, in line with Government advice, it was agreed that The Queen's Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour, would not go ahead in its traditional form. (Photo by Toby Melville - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
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