UPDATE: Two weeks after undergoing her first emergency surgery, a turtle in Thailand who swallowed over 900 coins thrown by humans into the water where she was kept has reportedly passed away. After her story went viral, Omsin (meaning “Piggy Bank”) became a worldwide symbol of the need for humans to live conscientiously and in harmony with animals.
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) March 21, 2017
The veterinarians who were treating her told reporters that they had to perform a second surgery on the turtle after finding an intestinal obstruction. She never woke up after the completion of the second surgery, passing away on Tuesday, March 21. It’s believed that she may also have had a compromised immune system as a result of the toxicity of the coins that she’d ingested. The lead surgeon who worked to remove the coins from her stomach two weeks ago told reporters, “She at least had the chance to swim freely and eat happily before she passed.”
May Omsin rest in peace, and may her story serve as a reminder to humans everywhere that animals are not here for human entertainment.
Originally posted March 7, 2017
According to reports, it took four hours and five surgeons to remove more than 900 coins from the stomach of an endangered sea turtle who was found suffering in a Thai town. It’s thought that people hoping to have their wishes granted threw the coins into the water where she was kept—but the end result was nothing short of a nightmare for her after ingesting them. Watch this video clip for more information:
Tossing coins into a fountain is usually something people do for good luck – but it wasn't lucky for this turtle in Thailand pic.twitter.com/AykBMeT6oA
— Channel 5 News (@5_News) March 6, 2017
The turtle’s shell was believed to have cracked as a result of the 11-pound weight of the coins she’d swallowed. Such cracks pose a risk of serious or even fatal infection if left untreated. What’s more, two fishing hooks were also reportedly found in her stomach, highlighting the harm that “catch-and-release” fishing inflicts on all animals—not just fish.
After discovering that coins thrown by people were the cause of this turtle’s pain, one staff member of the aquatic animal research center where the surgery took place told reporters, “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.”
Here are those coins. pic.twitter.com/YgbWOKunxM
— Jerry Harmer (@Coalporter) March 6, 2017
In a similar viral story from 2015, a turtle was saved, although he was still subject to extreme and unnecessary trauma, after a straw became stuck in his nose. Many animals who sustain litter-induced injuries never receive help and can end up enduring a slow, painful death.
What You Can Do
Be conscientious and don’t ever litter. Animals can mistake human artifacts—such as plastic bags or, as in this case, even coins—for shelter or food, which can lead to suffocation or injury. As this story highlights, animals who ingest harmful objects thrown into their habitats can easily die if they don’t receive veterinary care.
Tell everyone you know that if their actions risk hurting or endangering an animal, it’s not worth it. Animals all over the world need your help to spread this lifesaving message. You can also check out our tips on being kind to animals when traveling overseas.