In Sriracha, Chonburi, near Bangkok, a green sea turtle named Omsin, also known as “Piggy Bank” in Thai, underwent a remarkable surgery to remove an astonishing 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of coins from her stomach.
This unusual operation unfolded at a local conservation center where visitors believed that tossing coins and currency notes into the pond with these turtles would bring them good luck.
Little did they know that their well-intentioned actions were turning into a nightmare for one of the resident turtles.
The unfortunate turtle’s appetite for “fortune-favoring” coins led to a serious health crisis. The coins, tossed into the pond as tokens of luck, found their way into Omsin’s stomach over time, accumulating to such an extent that they impaired her ability to swim and threatened her life.
In a marathon seven-hour surgery, veterinarians at Chulalongkorn University, led by Veterinarian Nantarika Chansue and her team, came to Omsin’s rescue. First, the turtle was gently anesthetized.
Then, a 10-centimeter incision was carefully made into the bottom of her shell. However, it soon became evident that removing the coins from there would be impossible.
So, with precision and care, the veterinarians performed a delicate procedure to access her stomach, eventually extracting the astounding 5 kilograms of coins. It’s worth noting that the turtle herself weighed 59 kilograms (130 pounds).
The actual value of these coins remains a mystery, as most of them are foreign currency or have eroded beyond recognition.
Currently, Omsin is in intensive care at Chulalongkorn University, where she will be closely monitored for about two weeks as part of her recovery process.
This incident serves as a stark reminder of the unintended consequences of well-meaning gestures.
While people believed that throwing coins into ponds with turtles would bring them longevity, it had the opposite effect.
Green sea turtles can live up to 80 years, and their natural lifespan was cut short by these offerings, inadvertently causing harm to the very creatures they sought to help.
Rungrote Thanawongnuwet, the head of the Veterinary Science program at Chulalongkorn University, emphasized the importance of understanding the harm such actions can inflict on aquatic life, stating, “This is sinning, not making merit.”
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