Gigantic Swarm of Migrating Sea Turtles Caught on Film [Video]

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By Mandy Froelich / Truth Theory

In 1983, the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge was established in Costa Rica. The sanctuary is the destination for hundreds of thousands of female sea turtles. Each year, the pregnant turtles trek to the beach to lay their eggs. The refuge is believed to be the second-largest gathering of turtles in the world. Only Mexico’s Oaxaca receives more turtles during egg-laying season.

In November 2016, possibly the largest ever swarm of sea turtles as caught on camera by a drone. Biologist Vanessa Bézy was studying the mass arrival and quickly realized she was witnessing something special. Bézy told National Geographic. “To this day I’m still blown away by the video. They look like bumper cars out there.”

The footage was only recently released to shed light on the threat of tourism to the turtle habitat. Though there are currently protections in place to prevent development encroaching on the nesting site, as well as allow responsible tourists to watch the natural phenomena, Bézy says more regulations need to be in place. According to the biologist, the safety of the population is at threat.

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IFLScience reports: “On the day the footage was filmed there was the equivalent of 5,000 turtles in an area the size of a football field, covering a total area of more than 1,000 football fields, at a density of roughly one turtle for every square meter.” Some believe even more turtles were present and can be seen rising to the surface then bobbing back below.

No one yet knows why so many turtles gather at the beach for nesting, or even how they know to return to the beach. One hypothesis is that animals and insects rely on use the Earth’s magnetic field as a guide. Another theory is that the turtles sense there is strength in numbers.

What is clear is that hotel developers are capitalizing on tourists’ infatuation with sea turtle migration. Bézy hopes that by releasing the jaw-dropping footage, more people will learn how unique the region is any why it needs to be more protected than ever.

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