Wildlife researchers in New Zealand found a surprisingly resilient memory stick in a surprising place – a 14-month-old lump of frozen seal feces.
The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research says the fully functioning USB stick is in “good condition considering where it came from” and contains somebody’s vacation photos, the BBC reports.
NIWA tweeted a video from the memory stick, which shows frolicking sea lions and the nose of a blue kayak. The institute says the scat sample was collected from an ailing leopard seal on New Zealand’s South Island in November 2017.
NIWA is searching for the owner of a USB stick found in the poo of a leopard seal…
Recognise this video? Scientists analysing the scat of leopard seals have come across an unexpected discovery – a USB stick full of photos & still in working order! https://t.co/2SZVkm5az4 pic.twitter.com/JLEC8vuHH0
— NIWA (@niwa_nz) February 5, 2019
Researchers are now trying to find the owner of the memory stick, which was left to dry out for a couple of weeks after they found it in the defrosted sample, Radio New Zealand reports.
The seal feces was being analyzed to assess the health and diet of the seals, and researchers say finding the memory stick was not a good sign. “It is very worrying that these amazing Antarctic animals have plastic like this inside them,” says volunteer Jodie Warren. (Hawaiian monk seals, meanwhile, have been getting eels stuck up their noses.)