Every photographer’s dream is to get the opportunity to capture a unique photo, something the world has never seen before. Nature is ever-changing, complex, vibrant, and rich, so it is certainly challenging for a wildlife photographer to leave everyone open-mouthed.
Yet, in November 2016, biologist Vanessa : managed to film probably the largest swarm of sea turtles to date, while flying her drone over the Costa Rican coastline.
The drone was used in a study that investigated olive ridley sea turtles and their reproduction.
The footage reveals thousands of them while swimming across a region just off Ostional National Wildlife Refuge.
There is about one turtle for every square meter, and as the drone ascends, new turtles are rising from below the surface.
“I immediately knew there was something special going on. To this day I’m still blown away by the video. They look like bumper cars out there.”
Ostional was established in 1983 as a protected area specifically for the turtles, but as they are considered a vulnerable species, this might be the last time we see swarms this dense.
Roldán Valverde, scientific director of the Sea Turtle Conservancy in Florida, said:
“This is the only time I’ve seen a video capturing this phenomenon in the water. Most of the photography documenting this occurs on the beach.”
Bézy studies them and her goal is to raise awareness about the importance of protecting the species and hopes her footage will help it to remain robust. Even though these sea turtles are widespread, they have very few nesting sites globally.
Bézy worries about the rising tourism industry around the beaches where they nest, as regulations proposed to protect the area seem to not be enough.
Also, olive ridley sea turtle hatchlings have a very low survival rate into adulthood, so if we additionally threaten the population, it might crash fast.
She hopes that her investigation will find out the reason and the way such a great number of turtles gather there, especially in the period between August and October. This might be due to factors such as sand type, beach orientation, and sea currents.
These findings might provide an answer that can maximize the chances for survival for the species.
Olive ridley sea turtles are among the six sea turtle species that the International Union for Conservation of Nature listed as threatened, so mass aggregations of this kind are a critical part of their life cycle.