A venerated sea turtle who was fed hundreds of coins by supplicants seeking good fortune is dead. The 25-year-old animal was living in a pond in a town near the Gulf of Thailand in late February when rescuers found her close to drowning from the weight of her cache—about 11 pounds worth. After naming her Omsin, which is Thai for “piggy bank,” a team of veterinary surgeons operated on the turtle for seven hours. By the time they were finished, they had filled a bucket with 915 coins, in currencies both foreign and domestic.
Omsin was expected to survive, if not thrive. By all accounts, her rehabilitation at Bangkok’s Veterinary Medical Aquatic Animals Research Center went smoothly. She received laser therapy on her belly incision. A large kiddie pool, coupled with physical therapy for a wonky flipper, helped her ease back into water. Following a liquid diet, Omsin returned to eating solid food.
“She is getting stronger,” Nantarika Chansue, a veterinary scientist who tracked Omsin’s progress on Facebook, wrote on March 9.
Just as her doctors began planning her release to the wild, Omsin’s condition suddenly deteriorated. They found her intestines in a tangle in the space where the coins once filled. An infection had developed, causing her abdomen to swell up with gas and fluid.
Despite rushing the turtle into intensive care on Sunday night, then emergency surgery on Monday, Omsin lapsed into a comma. On Tuesday, she died, a victim of ignorance and superstition.
“At 10:10 a.m., she went with peace,” Nantarika said during a news conference. Visibly weeping, she called Omsin her “friend, teacher and patient.”
Nantarika was comforted by just one thought. “She at least had the chance to swim freely and eat happily before she passed,” she said.
Via the Washington Post
Photos by Unsplash