The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Ever wondered what it would be like to ride a sea turtle through the Great Barrier Reef?

But seriously, haven't you ever wanted to take a ride on a sea turtle, “Finding Nemo”-style?


Sea turtle explores Great Barrier Reef wearing body camera. (Video: Christine Hof and Ian Bell, WWF)

Physically sitting on a sea turtle is a big no-no, obviously (or maybe not so obviously), but thanks to the miracle of modern technology (a GoPro, the turtle is wearing a GoPro) you can get the same effect from the comfort of your own home, no turtle-abuse required.

[After a vicious chlorine attack, these sea lions look overjoyed, frolicking back to the ocean]

The video from the World Wildlife Fund is intended to highlight the fragile beauty of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. It's the world's largest reef system, made up of nearly 3,000 smaller individual reefs, and it spans 1,400 miles. It's the largest structure made up of living organisms (coral, you so crazy) and contains thousands of species, including some that are considered to be at risk of extinction. You can even spot it from space!

[Corals may already have the right genes to survive some global warming, scientists say]

The WWF and other environmental groups are pushing for the reef to be listed as “in danger,” which would mean the Australian government would have to work harder to protect it from pollution, dredging, fishing and other dangers. On July 1,  UNESCO announced that it wouldn't give the reef an “in danger” designation, though it acknowledged that the health of the reef continues to decline.

Australian officials have committed to fixing these problems without the designation being put into place, but some environmental groups remain skeptical.

“Until the plans for the massive coal mine and port expansion are dropped, it's impossible to take Australia's claims that they are protecting the reef seriously,” Greenpeace's Jess Panegyres told the BBC.

Read More:

This chart of sea-dwelling giants will make you feel tiny

Scientists find the origin of Antarctica’s creepy ‘Blood Falls’

Scientists discover an unexpectedly beautiful rainbow of fluorescent corals in the Red Sea

How ‘tweeting’ seals are helping us discover the ocean’s mysteries