African penguin (archive image)
Photo: Kira Hofmann / dpa
In the South African metropolis of Cape Town, 64 penguins were probably killed by a swarm of bees.
That said the spokeswoman for the South African nature conservation authority SANParks, Lauren Howard-Clayton, the news agency dpa.
It was a "tragic and unusual accident," said Howard-Clayton.
The birds were found dead on Friday on Boulders Beach, a popular tourist destination south of Cape Town.
They were part of a colony of African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) living in a nature reserve, which are endangered according to the IUCN Red List.
Find the beehive
Some of the dead animals were found with 20 or more bee stings, said the spokeswoman.
Subsequent tests for toxins or pathogens were inconclusive.
Authorities are now looking for the beehive to find out what could have triggered the bee attack, said Howard-Clayton.
African penguins breed in South Africa and neighboring Namibia.
According to the Foundation for the Conservation of Shorebirds in Southern Africa (Sanccob), the number of penguins living in South Africa has fallen by 73 percent to 10,400 pairs over the past three decades.
According to this, there are still 4300 pairs of penguins in Namibia.
ptz / dpa