The veterinary team at Chulalongkorn University decided additional surgery was needed to resolve complications after more than 900 coins were removed from its stomach in a nine-hour operation two weeks ago.
The faculty of veterinary science announced this afternoon that the surgery was unsuccessful and the 25-year-old sea turtle, affectionately nicknamed Orm Sin (money bank), had died around 10:10am.
On March 6, the team removed 915 coins weighing a total of 5 kilograms from the stomach of the suffering female turtle, which had swallowed coins thrown into its pond by people seeking good fortune.
After the operation, the turtle’s condition showed improvement and it could eat and swim.
However, veterinarians on Saturday (Mar 18) decided on further urgent surgery after the turtle’s condition deteriorated due to high levels of nickel in its body, absorbed from the coins.
The turtle had 200 times more than the usual amount of nickel in its blood, resulting in lowered immunity which affected its heart and muscles.
The turtle’s intestines were also tangled. Its intestinal muscles were unable to recover due to loss of protein. This led to a build up of toxins in its blood, vet Nantarika Chansue, director of Aquatic Animal Research Centre, said.
The team released a large amount of gas and fluid from its stomach and rearranged its intestines into the right position. The turtle did not recover consciousness, showing only weak signs of life and needed oxygen and close monitoring.
All efforts were in vain.
Vet Nantarika cried when she made the announcement at a media briefing.
She said the Orm Sin case had provided an essential lesson for them. A post-mortem examination would be performed for educational purposes.
Later, the Sea Turtle Conservation Centre in Rayong will preserve and stuff its carcass, also for educational use.
“I want the case of Orm Sin to be an example for people in general who may wrongly believe that throwing coins into ponds where there are live animals brings good fortune. It only hurts the animals,” vet Nantarika said.
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