Omsin (means piggy bank) is a 25-year-old sea turtle that lived in a public pond in Chonburi province Thailand. She has swallowed nearly 1,000 coins during captivity, broke her shell from the mass of the coins, fell into a coma, and eventually died of blood poisoning following surgery while vets attempt to remove 5kg of loose change from her stomach.
“She at least had the chance to swim freely and eat happily before she passed,” said Dr Nantarika Chansue, who removed the coins from the turtle’s stomach in a tedious operation on 6 March 2017.
“At 10.10am she went with peace,” said Chansue, the vet in charge of Chulalongkorn hospital’s aquatic research centre. “She is my friend, teacher and patient,” she added.
Members of the public donated about 15,000 baht (£350) towards her surgery when Thai media began publicising the turtle’s tale on April 2017.
Over four hours while the turtle was anaesthetized, five surgeons from Chulalongkorn University’s veterinary faculty removed the coins. They had to remove a few coins at a time because the mass of the coins was too great to take out through a 10cm incision. Many of the coins had corroded or dissolved inside Omsin’s guts.
When Chansue discovered the cause of the turtle’s agony she said she was furious. “I felt angry that humans, whether or not they meant to do it or if they did it without thinking, had caused harm to this turtle,” the vet said at the time.
Vets hope that the agony Omsin went through will make people think twice about throwing coins into ponds where animals live.