TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - From a trash can to a top notch tank.
A sea turtle found in the trash at a Tybee Island hotel over the summer is well on its way to returning to the wild.
Right out of the nest, the life of a baby loggerhead sea turtle is difficult enough, trying to make it to the ocean without getting picked off by predators like birds, raccoons, and in Admiral’s case, a couple of tourists from Kentucky.
The turtle-napping is still an ongoing federal investigation, and one that could still stick the Kentucky couple with some harsh penalties.
Of the six baby sea turtles swiped from the sand and left in a hotel bathroom trash can, five were released, and this one, named after the Inn where she was found, was kept as a turtle ambassador at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center.
"She is our sixth and most unique, she made national news."
Chantal Audran is one of Admiral's caretakers at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center.
Affectionately nicknamed “Addie,” Audran said despite the less than ideal circumstances that led to Admiral’s arrival, the five-month-old loggerhead is doing quite well.
“New year, new tank. Admiral is moving from a 65-gallon tank today to an 800-gallon tank,” Audran said.
New fishy neighbors and live feedings will give Admiral the stimulation needed to prepare her for life in the wild.
Also on hand to witness the tank transfer was the general manager of the Admiral Inn, who’s followed the baby turtle’s journey since she was found in one of his rooms.
“Honestly, it’s pretty exciting. We’ve watched her grow from when she was a baby to five months, and she was a little munchkin floating around the baby tank, and now she’s a whole pound. To everybody else, she might seem like a small turtle still, but to us, she’s huge," said Dillon Patel.
Admiral will remain in this new tank for about another year-and-a-half before she’s released into her natural habitat.