Search for owner of USB found in Invercargill seal poo

Search for owner of USB found in Invercargill seal poo

Leopard seal scat is valuable to scientists because it holds a wealth of information about what the Antarctic predators eat, their general health and how long they have been in New Zealand waters.

Apparently the NIWA has a network of volunteers that walk around the country collecting scat, and the group sends the samples off to marine biologist Dr. Krista Hupman. And researchers would be happy to hand the drive over to the original owner, ideally in exchange for some fresh feces to study.

Volunteers scouring through some critical seal poo evidence for a NIWA research have come across a surprising find.

Now, two volunteers defrosting the sample - to be analysed by Dr Hupman - discovered a USB stick concealed deep inside the scat. You put it under the cold tap, get all the gross stuff off, smoosh it around a bit and separate the bones, feathers, seaweed and other stuff, ' explained NIWA volunteer Jodie Warren.

Scientists in New Zealand say they uncovered a still-functioning USB stick from some animal seal poop last month.

"The poo, known scientifically as scat and about the size of two bread rolls, is as good as gold for leopard seal researchers", the institute said in a press release.

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After cleaning the USB drive and leaving it out for a few weeks to dry, the researchers tried plugging it in to see if it had anything on it still. This raised some concern, since swallowing an object this big could potentially injure or kill a leopard seal.

Ironically, the USB drive contained photos and a video of sea lions on a New Zealand beach located about an hour away from where the seal poop was originally found. The only clues of who the USB owner's identity are footage of a blue kayak and the fact that they were at some point likely hanging out with leopard seals.

The video shows the curious sea lions swimming about and approaching the kayak before darting off.

Even more surprising was that the memory stick was in reasonably good condition, considering where it had come from, NIWA said.

If you're the owner of the memory stick and you're wanting it back, beware - it comes with a price.

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