You gotta love the resilience of solid state. New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) is seeking the owner of a USB stick its researchers found in seal poo.
The Institute’s call emerged in a post titled “They were defrosting leopard seal poo...you won't believe what happened next!”
The post explains that NIWA researchers collect leopard seal poo, but often freeze it before analysis.
Three weeks ago, volunteers Jodie Warren and Melanie Magnan defrosted a sample collected in November 2017 and, after washing off “the bones, feathers, seaweed and other stuff”, found a USB stick.
On the off-chance time inside a seal and a freezer hadn’t destroyed the device they left it to dry out, before plugging it into a computer to see if it worked.
And it did. NIWA reports that it recovered “photos of sealions … and a video of a mum and baby sealion frolicking in the shallows” plus glimpses of “the nose of a blue kayak” as the only clue to the images’ origin.
NIWA has tut-tutted about the fact plastics found their way into both the environment and a seal, but also offered to return the USB to its owner if they help out by collecting more post-digestive residue from seals to assist further research.