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China: Around The Nation

Chinese tourists’ lucky coins kill aquarium turtle after it eats one and chokes

Turtles can live much longer than humans, but this victim was only 20 years old

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 June, 2017, 3:35pm
UPDATED : Friday, 30 June, 2017, 4:24pm

Tourists’ lucky coins are not just choking aircraft engines as reported this week in China Digest – now they have claimed the life of a 20-year-old turtle at an aquarium in China’s Hunan province, according to news website.

The turtle choked on coins at the aquarium in a park in the provincial capital Changsha. It was having trouble breathing and was unwilling to eat a week before it died, Thepaper.cn reported on Thursday.

Elderly flight passenger throws coins into engine for ‘luck’, delays take-off for hours

The report said a veterinarian performed an autopsy on the animal and found a coin stuck in its throat the remains of plastic bags in its stomach.

Zhao Chenggang, the aquarium’s manager, said turtles normally live for up to 150 years but this one died at 20.

The report said a sign near the turtle’s enclosure distinctly says “don’t feed the animals” but many coins can be seen at the bottom of the pond.

In Chinese culture, turtles are a symbol of health due to their long life.

Tossing coins into ponds housing turtles, or enclosures for their larger cousins that live on land, tortoises, has been a way of Chinese people making a wish for good fortune and health since ancient times.

However, the custom is not only hazardous for animals but may also break the law.

This revered turtle was offered coins as a blessing. She ate 5kg of them and nearly died

The report quoted a lawyer as saying that damaging Renminbi is an offence, and that tourists should not endanger animals while making a wish.

This week, an 80 year old woman delayed a domestic flight in Shanghai for hours after she tossed coins into a jet engine from the boarding stairs to wish the aircraft a safe flight. In fact, loose coins flying around the engine at high speed could cripple it while in flight.