63 penguins found dead at Boulders Beach with multiple bee stings

Posted by David Henning on 20 September 2021

A swarm of bees seems to have been responsible for the death of 63 African penguins, an endangered species, on Friday 17 September 2021 at Boulders Beach in Simonstown.

A SANParks statement said that the death occurred sometime between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, with officials, advisors and veterinarians from SANParks, the City of Cape Town, and penguin experts from the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) investigating the possible cause of death.

The penguins were transported to SANCCOB for post-mortems, and biological samples were sent for disease and toxicology testing. No external injuries were found on the birds, and post-mortems revealed that the penguins suffered multiple bee stings, with many dead bees found at the site of death.

Thus far, the preliminary investigations suggest that the penguins died after being stung by Cape honey bees. A dead penguin was also found on Fish Hoek beach on Saturday, having also sustained multiple bee stings.

Samples are still being tested for other toxicity possibilities and diseases to rule out any other potential causes, and the situation will be closely monitored by SANCCOB and SANParks.

Picture: Getaway Gallery


Facts about African penguins and how to help save this endangered bird

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