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Tybee Island Marine Science Center’s 'yearling straggler' graduates into his larger tank.
Ike arrived at the center in 2020 weighing only 14 grams. Now he tips the scales at 10 pounds. - photo by Image submitted

TYBEE ISLAND --  On Friday, Tybee Island Marine Science Center’s “yearling straggler” sea turtle, Ike, graduated and moved into his larger tank in the undercroft at the center located at 37 Meddin Drive. Ike has been at the center since he was rescued in 2020 when he arrived as a “quarantine hatchling.”

When Ike arrived Sept. 2, 2020, he only weighed 14 grams. Now he weighs 10 pounds and his new tank holds 4,560 gallons of water, which is 25 times the size of his previous tank. Ike’s next step, the greatest of all, will be his release to the ocean during the summer of 2023.

According to Chantal Audran, acting director of the Tybee Island Marine Science Center, Ike is the first Marine Debris Ambassador to live at this location and the first to christen the tank downstairs. Named for IKEA, Ike honors the company’s donation of classroom and office furnishings to the new center.

“Ike was one of nine stragglers in a nest in 2020,” Audran explained. “Five days after the nest hatched, our Tybee Sea Turtle Project volunteers excavated and inventoried the success of the nest. The nest had 70 hatched eggs and 15 unhatched. Often, stragglers are found in the nest because they didn’t emerge with the rest of their nest mates.

“The tank was recently installed by Southeast Aquariums (SEA). After two weeks of preparation, the tanks have been filled, salted, and seeded with bacteria to ensure Ike has the best water quality in his new home. This move marks a big step for the science center in completing another phase of our growth with the opening of new animal exhibit tanks in the undercroft,” Audran added.