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(TYBEE ISLAND, Ga () — On Tybee Island, a 3-year-old loggerhead sea turtle, Ike, was released back into his natural habitat Saturday morning.
People we spoke with didn’t mind getting up at the crack of dawn to cheer on Ike’s new beginning. Some say they woke up as early as 6 a.m.
Asya Loring and Loghan Wampler of Savannah told News 3 it was worth it.
“It’s a cool experience it’s something that you are able to see often”, Loring said. Because not a lot of sea turtles are seen on the beach. You only see them far out in the ocean or in Hawaii. If you want to be up close and a part of it, it’s something cool to try.”
“I agree for sure,” Wampler responded. Plus, just any chance to be on the beach in the morning. Almost like a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing to see.”
As News 3 continued speaking with people who attended, they tell us this was like a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sage Mathews of Wilmington Island agreed.
“It’s our first release and it’s probably… it could be a once and a lifetime opportunity,” Mathews said. “So, we are really happy to make it out.”
Ike has been a resident at the Tybee’s Marine Science Center since 2020. He was a straggler on Tybee Island beach. His job as Marine Debris Ambassador was to bring awareness to water pollution through engagement.
Even though he is dealing with a flipper injury, that did not stop him from taking confident strides towards his new home.
As the new loggerhead steps in as ambassador, Mathews said she hopes to experience this again.
“In a couple of years, we hope to have our baby brother and head on out and experience it again,” Mathews concluded.
As Ike steps down, the upcoming Marine Debris Ambassador is named Westie.