"If we didn't operate on her then she wouldn't have been able to eat or defecate, and would have soon died".
Omsin, a green sea turtle, is recovering in Bangkok after surgery to remove over 900 coins from her stomach on Monday.
Reverence had almost destroyed Omsin; technology was her only hope.
Thai media reported the turtle's misfortune last month after she was found, and the public donated about 15,000 baht ($565) for the surgery.
Some also believe they are "making merit" for the animals, which is a Buddhist tradition. By the late 20th century, the New York Times noted, mercy releases were filling Central Park with shop-bought turtles.
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Tossing coins in a fountain for luck is a popular superstition, but a similar belief brought misery to a sea turtle in Thailand from whom doctors have removed 915 coins.
The turtles often get the worst of such traditions, experts say.
Bank had been living in a private pond in the seaside town of Sri Racha for many years.
But she'd never seen one like Omsin before.
The patient is now recovering in Chulalongkorn University's animal hospital.
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People raised money for a CT scan, which revealed the problem: an egg-shaped clump, seven inches on the side, glowing silver in the scan. The coins weighed a total of 11 pounds and amounted to $57, according to the Daily Mail.
The 25-year-old female turtle, affectionately named "Bank", spent years eating coins that had been thrown into a pond in Bangkok by tourists seeking good luck.
But Chansue sounded grim about her chances. As well as the coins they also found two fish hooks, which were also removed today. It was harder than expected.
As the AP reports, the weight of the coins cracked Omsin's shell.
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