Diet of "good luck" coins becomes a curse for Omsin the sea turtle

Thai veterinarians remove close to 1,000 coins from a 25-year-old marine reptile in emergency surgery. Tourists and locals throw coins for good fortune and longevity in Omsin's pond at the conservation centre in Sriracha, Thailand.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

After a successful seven-hour surgery, Ms Piggy Bank – the English meaning of Omsin – needs six months to recover completely.

Omsin had been finding it hard to swim of late. The female sea turtle's diet of "good luck" coins was not bringing her any joy.

Omsin – Piggy Bank in Thai – lives in a conservation centre in Sriracha, east of Bangkok, Thailand. Locals and tourists would come and throw coins, hoping to be blessed with good fortune and longevity. Unaware of the hopes and dreams tossed in with the metal, Omsin had been quietly swallowing the coins tossed into her pond.

Veterinarians at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok removed nearly one thousand coins from her stomach on Monday. Their weight was causing the turtle's shell to crack, making it very difficult for her to swim.

The coins and other objects removed from the turtle weighed 5 kilogrammes (11 pounds). The turtle herself weighed 59 kg (130 lb).

After the seven-hour-long operation, the turtle was free of the 915 coins and other objects stuck in her belly. She needs up to six months of physical therapy to recover.

The surgeons believe the seven-hour surgery might well be a first. 

TRT World has more on Ms Piggy Bank's epic surgery.


TRTWorld and agencies