WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Krista Hupman, a biologist in New Zealand who research the feces of leopard seals, is aware of they’ll comprise surprises like feathers, fish bones and birds’ ft. However on Wednesday, she described “undoubtedly the weirdest” discover but: a USB drive containing pictures and movies of a vacationer’s trip.
Now Dr. Hupman, a analysis scientist on the Nationwide Institute of Water and Atmospheric Analysis, needs to reunite the USB drive with its proprietor.
The seal scat, Dr. Hupman stated, was collected from Oreti Seaside within the Southland area of the South Island of New Zealand in November 2017, and frozen for a later research of the animal’s weight loss program. Two volunteers defrosting the fecal matter final month found the thumb drive and referred to as Dr. Hupman.
“They stated: ‘You received’t imagine what we’ve discovered,’” she recalled.
On the reminiscence stick — found intact and with the cap nonetheless on — have been photographs of wildlife taken at Porpoise Bay, virtually 60 miles from the place the scat was collected, however no identifiable human faces. Some photographs included a blue kayak, which the researchers hope is perhaps recognizable to the stick’s proprietor.
Dr. Hupman is a part of a crew finding out leopard seals, an Antarctic species more and more being seen farther north in New Zealand. The researchers are looking for out why.
4 folks have come ahead to say the USB drive since its existence was first reported on Tuesday, however Dr. Hupman stated she didn’t imagine any of them was the precise proprietor. Claimants need to reply questions concerning the contents of the drive, together with recalling some descriptive file names.
On social media, New Zealanders agitated for a decision to the thriller. “That is essentially the most NZ CSI ever,” one Twitter consumer wrote, whereas one other rewrote the lyrics to the Police tune “Message in a Bottle” to mirror the destiny of the USB drive within the digestive tract of a “constipated seal.”
Dr. Hupman stated she hoped the publicity would encourage guests to New Zealand’s seashores to assist with the scientists’ analysis. Her web site lists directions for the way to scoop up seal scat discovered on the seaside, freeze it and get it to her crew.
“Weirdly sufficient, you possibly can put it within the submit,” Dr. Hupman stated of the scat. “You simply want to ensure it reaches its remaining vacation spot in a frozen method.”