Asia

Thailand coin-eating sea turtle 'Piggy Bank' dies

Close up as Thai veterinarians operate on Omsin at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand, 6 March 2017. Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The turtle was operated on at a veterinary hospital in Bangkok

A turtle in Thailand that had an operation to remove nearly 1,000 coins from her stomach two weeks ago has died from blood poisoning.

The 25-year-old sea turtle fell into a coma after a second operation on Sunday, following intestinal problems.

Named Omsin, meaning "Piggy Bank", she was found to be eating coins thrown into a public pond where she lived, in Chonburi province.

By the time they were removed, she was carrying 5kg (11lb) of coins.

The unusual mass of metal had cracked her shell, making the initial seven-hour operation necessary.

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Media captionOmsin ate 915 coins

She was said to have been doing well after that surgery but developed blood poisoning at the weekend, which doctors said was the cause of death.

The coins were thrown into the pond by visitors hoping for good luck - a practice some hope will become less common after widespread coverage of the case in Thailand.

Omsin's demise prompted sadness and soul-searching.

Many took issue with "merit making" practices common in Thailand, that sometimes harm animal welfare.

Image copyright @SaksithCNA
Image caption There was praise too for the "best efforts" of the vets caring for her

Hopes had been high for Omsin's recovery.

Even after she slipped into a coma, the surgeon leading the team trying to save her said they wouldn't give up.

Image copyright Nantarika Chansue
Image caption Dr Nantarika Chansue earlier posted that Omsin "still won't wake up" but that her team "still won't stop"

Doctors said the removal of the coins had created a space in Omsin's stomach that had probably blocked blood flow in her intestine.

That became fatal after she suffered an acute intestinal infection.

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