Sixty-three African penguins, a species classified as endangered, found dead on a beach near Cape Town, were killed by bee stings, said on Sunday Dr David Roberts, veterinarian at the Southern Africa Foundation for the conservation of coastal birds (Sanccob).
The penguins were discovered Friday on the beach in Simon's Town, about forty kilometers from Cape Town.
Bites were detected especially around their eyes and dead bees were found on the beach, said the specialist.
Other tests to possibly detect disease or toxic substances, as well as autopsies, were carried out.
A "rare and unusual" fact
David Roberts lamented a "rare and unusual" fact that affects an endangered species, but in the area which is a national park, "bees are also part of the ecosystem," he said.
South Africa is home to the world's largest penguin colony.
African penguins are threatened with extinction, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Only 13,000 pairs were recorded worldwide in 2019, mainly in South Africa and neighboring Namibia.