Juliet Eysenck Claire Lomas, video source dr nathan robinson/the leatherback trust
19 MAY 2016 • 2:36PM
The magical moment a sea turtle returns to the water after nesting has been captured using a drone.
Marine biologists from the Leatherback Trust, a non-profit organisation, filmed the olive ridley sea turtle on its journey from Las Baulas National Park in Costa Rica.
Drones can unlock ways to check and monitor sea turtles, giving us a new insight into these animals
Dr Nathan Robinson
The team hopes to use drones over the coming months to uncover secrets about the behaviour of sea turtles in the open ocean.
Dr Nathan Robinson, field director at the Leatherback Trust, who took the drone footage, said: "Drones can unlock ways to check and monitor sea turtles, giving us a new insight into these animals.
"It's a way of scoping out large areas of water and finding out where the turtles are and what they are doing.
Olive ridley turtles
Olive ridley turtles more commonly nest on the beach at night (file photo) CREDIT: AP
"A lot of our work involves trying to find out where sea turtles are nesting. It usually means walking up and down beaches for long periods of time. Instead, you can send out a drone and look at the footage and work out where the nests are.
"The place where I took the drone footage is a big nesting habitat. It was one of our first flights.
It is very rare to see a sea turtle nesting during the daytime and so we were very excited
The drone footage follows the turtle as it slowly swims away from the shore and beneath the waves.
Dr Robinson added: "Only a handful of turtles nest during the daytime every year. It's usually done at night.
"White lights disturb nesting turtles so we don't really use our drones at night.
"There are drones that are infrared but the technology isn't quite there yet.
"Luckily, this turtle was nesting during the daytime and we had a drone with us at the time, giving us a unique opportunity to follow the turtle out to the ocean after it finished nesting."
It is very rare to see a sea turtle nesting during the daytime CREDIT: DR NATHAN ROBINSON/THE LEATHERBACK TRUST
According to the WWF, male turtles never leave the sea but the females come ashore to lay their eggs, on the same beach where they themselves hatched.
There are seven species of marine turtles - olive ridley, hawksbill, leatherback, loggerhead, flatback, Kemp's ridley and green turtle.
The olive ridley, which takes its name from the colour of its shell, is found in temperate and tropical waters, primarily in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.
It is the smallest of the sea turtles and is currently the most abundant. However, the WWF lists the species as vulnerable because they only nest in a small number of places.
Last year, officials from the Costa Rican Ministry of Environment and Energy spoke out against selfie-crazed tourists who have been disrupting the egg-laying of protected sea turtles.
Hundreds of tourists swarmed to a seven-kilometre stretch of Ostional Beach in Costa Rica as sea turtles came ashore to lay their eggs, as many of them wanted to take pictures of the turtles and selfies on the beach.
Plastic straw removed from turtle's nose by marine biologists in heartbreaking videoPlay! 02:12
Last year, Dr Robinson removed a plastic straw that had become lodged in the nostril of an olive ridley sea turtle.
Dr Robinson said: "To protect the species is going to require global change, so the more awareness we can raise about these issues, the better.
"One of the ways people can help is to reduce single-use plastic to stop sea turtles ingesting it. Another good way to help is to volunteer. There are several places all over the tropics and sub-tropics."
Read More Here: Beautiful drone footage shows endangered olive ridley turtle returning to the sea after nesting