A swarm of bees attacked endangered African penguins on a beach in Simon’s Town. The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds confirmed that 63 penguins were found dead.
The area in which the protected birds live is a national park. The Cape honey bees also form part of this protected ecosystem.
According to the South African National Parks (Sanparks), the birds were taken to the conservation foundation for post-mortems. Samples were also sent for disease and toxicology testing.
In a statement by Sanparks, it confirmed that there were no external physical injuries found on any of the birds, except multiple bee stings around the penguins’ eyes.
A clinical veteran at the foundation told AFP that it was a very rare occurrence.
“We do not expect it to happen often, it’s a fluke. There were also dead bees on the scene.”
African penguins, which inhabit the coast and islands of Southern Africa, are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list, meaning they face a high risk of extinction.
Image credit: The Grosvenor Guest House