Friday 17 November 2017

Turtle recovering well after operation to remove almost a thousand coins from her belly

25-year-old green sea turtle
25-year-old green sea turtle "Bank" receives rehabilitation treatment at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Omsin, a 25 year old femal green sea turtle, rests after a surgical operation to remove coins from her stomach at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand March 6, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Officers count coins that were removed from the stomach of Omsin, a 25 year old femal green sea turtle, after a surgical operation at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand March 6, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
In this Friday, March 3, 2017 photo, the female green green turtle nicknamed "Bank" swims in a pool at Sea Turtle Conservation Center n Chonburi Province, Thailand. Veterinarians operated Monday, March 6, 2017, on "Bank," removing less than 1,000 coins from the endangered animal. Her indigestible diet was a result of many tourists seeking good fortune tossing coins into her pool over many years in the eastern town of Sri Racha. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

A Thai sea turtle which swallowed almost a thousand coins thrown into its pool by people who believed it would bring good luck is recovering well, four days after an operation to remove the hoard.

Veterinarians in Bangkok put "Bank", as the green sea turtle is nicknamed, back into the water to see how well she could move after 5kg (11lbs) of coins was taken from its stomach.

The turtle was gently lowered into a large plastic tank and quickly began swimming as best as it could in the restricted space.

The 25-year-old turtle was rescued from a pool by the Thai navy after it became ill from swallowing coins thrown to her by passers-by over the years.

Dr Nantarika Chansue, who led the team from Chulalongkorn University's Veterinary Faculty, said: "It's fantastic. She is responding very well.

"Now she is very happy and looks like normal turtle."

Coins removed from the female green turtle nicknamed
Coins removed from the female green turtle nicknamed "Bank" are seen after her surgery at Chulalongkorn University's veterinary faculty in Bangkok, Thailand (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

The reptile was rescued in the seaside town of Sri Racha by the Thai navy.

Scans showed that loose change became stuck in Bank's digestive tract, cracking its ventral shell and causing a life-threatening infection.

Surgeons needed four hours to remove the money, counting 915 coins of various currencies. Some are still inside, although it is hoped Bank can now pass them naturally.

The animal's rehabilitation has involved manipulating its limbs to make sure the muscles do not stiffen up after being out of water for a prolonged period, and checking that the surgical scar does not become infected.

There are lingering concerns, however. Dr Nantarika said: "The wound healing seems to be okay and there is no secondary infection because we are using sterile seawater.

"But we have checked her blood and her nickel concentration is very high, so we have to work on that."

Press Association

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