AUSTRALIA (CNN) — Aerial technology allowed scientists to capture stunning footage of over 64,000 green turtles on the edge of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

In a newly published study, scientists who are tracking the endangered populations say they owe their most accurate assessments to the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Initially, researchers tried tracking the turtles by marking their shells with a stripe of non-toxic paint, but came away with inaccurate counts.

In seeking to help the endangered turtles, the teams found drones provide much more accurate population surveys.