Australian researchers have just realised that they’ve been making a big mistake each year during their annual count of green sea turtles.
For the first time this year, scientists have turned to drone technology to keep count of the endangered species’ population. The numbers quickly showed that their previous efforts had been largely wasted, as their figures were off by about 50 per cent.
Tens of thousands of these turtles migrate to the world's largest nesting site on Raine Island, off the northern tip of Australia each year.
Counting them has always been a troublesome mission for the team of scientists who monitor the species.
"Trying to accurately count thousands of painted and unpainted turtles from a small boat in rough weather was difficult," says one of the researchers Andrew Dunstan. "Using a drone is easier, safer, much more accurate, and the data can be immediately and permanently stored.”