Why are bees so important?
A swarm of bees reportedly killed dozens of endangered African penguins in South Africa on Friday.
The 63 penguins were found dead Friday in a colony in Simonstown, near Cape Town, according to a South African National Parks (SANParks) statement.
"The deaths occurred suddenly sometime between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning," and experts began investigating the cause of death, according to the statement.
"Autopsies revealed that all the penguins had multiple bee stings, and many dead bees were found where the birds had died," he added.
One of the oldest penguins in the world dies 1:12
Preliminary research suggests the penguins died after being stung by Cape bees, SANParks said, but samples are still being analyzed to rule out other possible causes.
Alison Kock, SANParks Marine Biologist, thanked the organization's partners, including the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) and Cape Town City Council, for their assistance in researching the "unusual event".
"Today no more dead African penguins have been found at the site, and we will continue to monitor the situation," Kock said in the statement.
On Sunday, SANCCOB veterinarian David Roberts told AFP news agency that bee stings had been found around the penguins' eyes.
Some 450,000 bees occupied the walls of this house for 35 years.
They just relocated them
"This is a very rare event. We do not expect it to happen often, it is a coincidence," Roberts told AFP.
African penguins are native to the coasts of South Africa and Namibia.
They are one of the smallest penguin species, known for having irregular markings and loud voices.
In addition, the species is in strong decline, since it went from having a population of more than a million specimens at the beginning of the 20th century to only 55,000 in 2010, the year in which they were declared in danger of extinction.