They rewarded her with coins, tossing them into the pond in an effort to spread a little good karma. The endangered animal ate almost a thousand of them over the years after the money was thrown into her pool by wishful tourists. The swallowed coins formed an 11-pound (5 kilograms) mass in the sea turtle's stomach, and the weight of the coin ball eventually cracked Bank's ventral (underside) shell, leading to infection, the AP reported. "Now it's up to Bank how much she can recover", said Pasakorn Briksawan, a member of the surgical team, to the Associated Press. She said the turtle will be observed for another couple of weeks while recovering from the surgery before being transferred to a conservation center. But for one sea turtle, the tradition has brought nothing but misfortune.
Prof Nantarika Chansue of Chulalongkorn University, the vet who led the rescue, said: "The coins came from many countries, mainly from Asia". The turtle, nicknamed "Omsin", or "Bank", hailed from a pool in the eastern town of Sri Racha, a popular destination for tourists seeking good luck.
It was only after a detailed 3D scan that veterinarians pinpointed the weighty problem.
The surgery team leader said Monday that when she discovered the cause of the turtle's agony she was furious.
In addition to the coins, surgeons also found two fish hooks.
Bank was brought to veterinarians by the navy, which found her ailing in her seaside hometown.
The surgery was paid for by a successful donation drive, where around 15,000 baht (over $400) was raised by the public. Sea turtles can live 80 to 100 years, according to the National Wildlife Foundation.