Take a tour of Australia's Great Barrier Reef with a turtle as your guide.
The World Wildlife Fund’s Australia chapter released a video Monday that gives a turtle’s-eye view of the Great Barrier Reef.
A GoPro camera was attached to the shell of a green sea turtle whose underwater swim shows the diverse flora and fauna of the reef.
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The conservation organization released the video in the run-up to the World Heritage Committee’s vote whether to put Australia on probation until the health of the reef improves.
WWF-Australia’s Draw the Line campaign petition garnered 563,480 signatures from 177 countries. The campaign’s supporters are “drawing the line” over continued dredging, shipping, port development and pollution of the reef.
On Wednesday, the World Heritage Committee voted to place Australia on probation and provided a timeline on its expectations for the reef’s improved health.
The Australian government has until 2016 to show that the reef’s health is improving and has until 2019 to show that the reef’s decline has stopped outright. Failure to achieve these goals could lead the committee to vote to designate the reef as an “in-danger” site in 2020. The World Heritage Committee selected the reef as a World Heritage Site in 1981.
Incidentally, the green sea turtle featured in WWF-Australia’s video is listed as endangered. Although the species is not endemic to the Great Barrier Reef, there are two genetically distinct populations of the turtle residing in the region, both of which are currently under threat as a result of the reef’s continued degradation.