Published: Wed, February 06, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Sea lion video found on USB in frozen leopard seal poo

Sea lion video found on USB in frozen leopard seal poo

No word on the USB stick's brand, either, but whatever make it is, it gets our seal of approval. They're so tough, it appears that passing through the digestive system of a leopard seal and spending a year in a freezer can't break them.

This photo was discovered on a USB found inside a frozen slab of leopard seal poop in New Zealand.

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

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.

Researchers analyse seal faeces to assess the health and diet of seals in New Zealand waters.

About three weeks ago, volunteers thawed out the sample and discovered the memory stick, which was "in reasonably good condition considering where it had come from". The kayaker is not visible, but the tip of their blue kayak is, as well as footage of leopard seals playing in the cold coastal waters, including a mother and its pup. The volunteers then let the hardware dry for a couple weeks before popping it into a computer to view the contents.

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The NIWA is offering to give the USB drive back to its rightful owner, but "it comes with a price".

Ironically, on it were photos of sea lions at Porpoise Bay in the Caitlins and a video of a mum and baby sea lion frolicking in the shallows.

"The more we can find out about these creatures, the more we can ensure they are looked after", Ms Magnan said.

Although it's remarkable the USB stick survived the ordeal, it's nevertheless a bad sign for the seals and their environment.

"It is very worrying that these wonderful Antarctic animals have plastic like this inside them", said Jodie Warren, a volunteer at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

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