How much luck can a dead turtle bring?
A group of Pattaya locals will realize Sunday afternoon there’s only bad luck as they throw away their losing lottery tickets they bought after trying to divine “lucky” numbers from a green sea turtle washed ashore on Jomtien Beach Saturday night.
The episode was nothing new for Pattaya. Carcasses of endangered green and hawksbill turtles wash up too often on local beaches. But what set apart Saturday’s episode was the crowd of superstitious Thais sifting sand and counting scales, convincing themselves they could decode shell patterns into millions of baht in today’s government lottery draw.
Police shooed away the lookie-loos after calling experts from the Sea Turtle Conservation Center in Sattahip to the scene on Jomtien Beach at Soi 17 around 8 p.m.
The hopeful gamblers were so excited at the “sign” from above they neglected to see the clear signs the 50-kilogram-plus, 15-year-old turtle was dead.
There were no indications it had been hit by a boat propeller, so the likely cause of death was ingestion of plastic, a common cause of death for sea turtles that can’t differentiate a floating plastic bag from a tasty jellyfish until it’s too late.
Losing lotto players also will discover there’s only bad luck in betting on a turtle killed by human-caused pollution.
A version of this story originally appeared in the Bangkok Herald.