Tossing coins into a fountain or a pond to bring good luck is a popular superstition, but the practice of such a superstition brought misery to a 25-year-old female sea turtle in Thailand. On Monday, Thai veterinarians removed 915 coins from the turtle, who had been swallowing all the items thrown into her pool for good luck, eventually limiting her ability to swim.
The green sea turtle, named Omsin, which means piggy bank in Thai had been finding it hard to swim normally because of the weight. The coins and other objects removed from the turtle, who used to live in a lake in Sriracha conservation centre, Chonburi, east of Bangkok, weighed 5 kg (11 lb). The turtle itself weighed 59 kg (130 lb). The weight had cracked Omsin's ventral shell, causing a life-threatening infection.
A team of five veterinarian surgeons at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, operated on the turtle's stomach. They believed the seven-hour-long operation was the world's first such surgery.
"We think it will take about a month to ensure she will fully recover," Nantarika Chansue, of Chulalongkorn University's veterinary science faculty, told Hindustan Times, adding that the turtle would need six more months of physical therapy.
The Navy had found the turtle ailing by the side of the lake and decided to take her to the vets. After conducting a 3D scan; the vets discovered a large ball of coins inside her stomach along with two fish hooks, which were all removed by the operation. The name Omsin has been given by the doctors. Omsin's operation was conducted using the money raised from a public donation of 15,000 baht (approximately Rs 28,416).
Experts have always been warning the society about human behavior that is affecting the wildlife around us. From coins to plastics, humans throw different kinds of objects into water for different purposes. But, such practices harm the wildlife in a big way. In this case, Omsin was lucky enough to have been discovered by the navy and save his life.