DAA Daily

Electronic Waste in Seal’s Waste

A functioning USB was found inside a leopard seal’s frozen feces by marine researchers in New Zealand. The stool sample was kept in a freezer at the New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research for over a year.

A volunteer named Jodie Warren sifted through the thawed sample weeks ago, when she found the electronic device. She said in a statement, “It is very worrying that these amazing Antarctic animals have plastic like this inside them.”

Leopard seal feces is useful to scientists who use it to discover what the Antarctic predators eat, their general health, and how long the animals were in New Zealand waters. Because of this, Krista Humpan, a marine biologist, helped set up a volunteer leopard seal feces collection program, where they found the USB drive.

Upon plugging in the drive, they found photos and videos from an unknown person’s vacation, which are the only clues of the device’s owners.

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