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The rescue of ‘Piggy Bank’

The rescue of ‘Piggy Bank’

MONDAY, March 13, 2017

Hoping to share a sea turtle’s long life, visitors tossed coins into her pond, ironically nearly killing her. Vets removed 915 coins from Ormsin’s stomach.

A 25-YEAR-OLD green sea turtle had been living in a pond in Chon Buri province for years without a name, but she recently became front-page news in both local and international media. Even Time magazine and CNN reported about the discovery that she was carrying hundreds of coins in her stomach.
It was at this time that she was named Ormsin, or “Piggy Bank”. 
Dr Nantarika Chansue, director of the Aquatic Animal Disease Research Centre, faculty of veterinary medicine, Chulalongkorn University, was chief surgeon operating on Ormsin. During the six-hour operation, she and her team removed 915 coins from the turtle’s stomach.
“I visited a friend at the Navy’s Sea Turtle Conservation Centre in Sattahip, and that was the first time I met the turtle. She was given to the centre, which has a hospital for sea animals,” the doctor said in an interview.
“At that time, she was very sick and swam in an usual way. I had her X-rayed and found the biggest lump I have ever seen inside her. After a CT scan, we learned that what were inside it were coins,” she said.
The operation was performed with difficulty, as Ormsin’s condition was very fragile, and the team worried that she would be unable to survive the surgery. 
“The turtle was so weak that when she was sedated, it took only four minutes before she became unconscious. Normally a turtle takes about 15 minutes,” Nantarika said.
The six-hour surgery was conducted carefully at every step, the doctor said. “To remove all 915 coins, we had to take them out one at a time. We stood throughout the six-hour operation. “The dangerous and difficult procedures did not finish with the operation but they continued into the post-surgery care of the turtle.” 

The rescue of ‘Piggy Bank’
At the time of this interview, Ormsin had recovered very well, bringing hope to the team.
Ormsin could swim normally after she was allowed to enter the water for the first time following the operation, Nantarika posted on her Facebook wall on Friday.
“It is a super great day to see Ormsin able to swim normally at the first water trial!” the vet said.
“She can use all limbs normally now! She looks very, very happy to swim in our artificial seawater pool today. We still have to keep her wound dry most of the time for best healing,” her message read.
Nantarika said she was shocked to see such a large number of coins inside a turtle. “I felt angry that people threw coins into a pond where the turtle lived just for their good luck. I wish people would stop throwing things into turtle ponds.”
Many Asians love to toss coins into the habitats of turtles, creatures often renowned for their longevity, as these people believe doing so would give them long life and fortune.