Crappy memories: New Zealand kayaker's lost pictures found sealed in poop

A Leopard Seal appears to roll around laughing while resting on sea ice

A pair of researchers in New Zealand made a surprising discovery several weeks ago while analyzing a pile of seal poop.

Scientists in New Zealand say they have found a USB memory stick containing holiday photos inside a frozen slab of seal poo.

NIWA put out the call to find the owner on Monday and posted footage from the memory stick showing the nose of a blue kayak.

The specific sample of scat that the USB was found in was sent to NIWA in November 2017 by a vet who was in the area checking on a seal and voluntarily picked up the scat and sent it into the labs.

Volunteer Jodie Warren, who sifted through the scat and found the memory stick, expressed concern for the animal who ingested the USB.

LeopardSeals.org, a group of volunteers that studies the animals, has a whole webpage dedicated to the ins and outs of seal scat collection.

A pile of leopard seal poo may be the last place you think to look for a missing USB stick.

"It can tell them what these Antarctic predators eat, a little bit about their health and how long they may have been in New Zealand waters", NIWA said.

The photos scientists found on it are the only clues of its owner, and the agency is offering to return it to that person for a price.

The fully functioning stick contained images of sea lions and a video of a mother playing with her baby. After determining it was a USB drive, the undigested hardware was allowed to dry off for a few weeks at room temperature.

The two sea lions swim around the kayak - coming out of the water and diving back under - and even venture onto land before splashing back in, video shows. Dr Krista Hupman elaborates, "We are finding more and more marine mammals are ingesting plastic".

The research team are keen to find the owner of the USB stick - and recruit the keen seal watcher to their volunteer army combing the beaches for "golden" poo.

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