Finally, an animal-riding video we can get behind! (Note: no turtles were harmed during the making of this video). Using a GoPro and turtle-safe glue, World Wildlife Fund Australia (WWFA) gives us a special turtle's-eye view of the Great Barrier Reef. The project aims to unravel why hundreds of turtles have been found dead near the reef over the last four years. 

"We're working with [local organisations] to better understand the post-release behaviour of tagged green sea turtles," they explain on YouTube. The World Heritage Committee recently moved to keep a close watch over Australia until the health of the Great Barrier Reef improves. "The decision is critical to the future protection of this amazing, and threatened habitat," says WWF. The vote pushed the Australian government to commit to ban dredging and minimise dumping on reef. "It’s a plan. But as with every plan, it’s only as good as its implementation. There’s still a long way to go. The reef is at risk, and real action to protect it is a must."

The natural obstacles faced by young and adult sea turtles are staggering, but it is the increasing threats caused by humans that are driving them to extinction: over-harvesting of their eggs, the hunting of adults, entanglement in fishing gear and loss of nesting beach sites, to name a few. "But the biggest concern is pollution," says WWFA. "We need to find out more about the level of pollution affecting turtles within reef," they explain. "This project will hopefully help us do that." 

Green sea turtles (Chelonia mydas) are named for the hue of their cartilage and fat, not the algae that grows on their shell (or carapace) as most people believe. The carapace can actually range from brown, to green, to black – depending on the location of the turtle. They have particularly slow growth rates and appear to take longer to become reproductively mature than any other sea turtle species, with age at sexual maturity ranging from 26 to 40 years! And that means most turtles that wind up dead are actually juvenile, and haven't lived long enough to lay their first clutch and help the population bounce back.

Unlike other marine turtles, the adult green turtle is almost exclusively herbivorous, grazing on sea grasses and algae, but the young are typically omnivorous, commonly feeding on jellyfish and sponges – prey that can easily be confused with plastic bags.

"We're working globally to protect the seagrass beds that are so important to these turtles," says WWF. "Seagrass consumed by green turtles is quickly digested and becomes available as recycled nutrients to the many species of plants and animals that live in the sea grass ecosystem. Seagrass beds also function as nurseries for several species of invertebrates and fish, many of which are of considerable value to commercial fisheries and therefore important to human food security. Protecting these animals, in the long run, also protects our own resources."