On Friday, dozens of critically endangered African penguins were apparently killed by a swarm of bees in South Africa.
According to a statement from the South African National Parks (SANParks), 63 penguin bodies were found in a colony in Simonstown near Cape Town on Friday. The
statement stated that “the death occurred between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning,” and the expert began investigating the cause of death.
“The autopsy revealed that all penguins have been stung by bees many times, and many dead bees were found where the birds died,” she added.
A preliminary investigation found that the penguin died after being stung by a cape bee, SANParks said, but the sample is still being tested to rule out other possible causes. Alison Kock, marine biologist at
SANParks, thanked the organization’s partners, including the Southern African Coastal Bird Conservation Foundation (SANCCOB) and the City of Cape Town, for their assistance in investigating “unusual incidents.”
“No more dead African penguins were found at the scene today. We will continue to monitor the situation,” Cork said in a statement.
On Sunday, SANCCOB’s veterinarian, David Roberts, told AFP that bee stings were found around the penguin’s eyes.
“This is a very rare event. We don’t want it to happen often. It’s a coincidence,” Roberts told AFP.
African penguins are native to the coasts of South Africa and Namibia.
They are one of the smaller penguins, known for their irregular pictures and loud sounds.
This species is also rapidly decreasing, from more than 1 million in the early 20th century to 55,000 when it was declared endangered in 2010.