Sea turtle recovering after 915 coins removed from stomach

Francis Osborne
March 7, 2017

Veterinarians laboured for seven hours to remove 915 coins weighing five kilogrammes from a sea turtle suffering chronic stomach ache.

Being a huge reptile with no concept of tradition, she ate them.

"We think it will take about a month to ensure she will fully recover", said Nantarika Chansue, of Chulalongkorn University's veterinary science faculty, adding that the turtle would need six more months of physical therapy.

The tradition of "mercy release" dates back more than a thousand years, according to National Geographic - to a Buddhist leader who told fishermen they'd earn good karma by releasing their catches into artificial ponds. Throwing coins onto turtles, according to Thai superstition, brings longevity to the thrower.

It was one of the 26 turtles relocated to the centre from a pond in Sri Racha district in Chon Buri after the town municipality planned to renovate the place. She was barely able to breathe when she was rescued.

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While recovering in Chulalongkorn University's animal hospital, the turtle will be on a liquid diet for the next two weeks. "But an X-ray and a CT scan revealed a massive chunk of objects", Nuntarika said. Vetrinarians removed 11 pounds of slimy coins from her belly. As well as the coins they also found two fish hooks, which were also removed today.

More than half a dozen surgeons and assistants hoisted the 130-pound turtle onto a table, put her under and strapped her down.

Total: 915 coins, each one supposed to be a blessing.

The coins, many of which had corroded or partially dissolved, formed a heavy ball in Bank's stomach and caused the crack in the ventral shell.

Typically, a green sea turtle has a lifespan of around 80 years.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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