Preliminary investigations suggest that the 63 penguins died because of being stung by a swarm of Cape honey bees.
A total of 63 African penguins were found dead inside the Boulders African penguin colony in Simonstown.
According to SANparks, the penguins were found on Friday.
“On Friday morning, 17 September 2021, 63 African penguins were found dead inside the Boulders African penguin colony – Simonstown.
“The deaths occurred suddenly some time between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning.”
It said officials, expert advisors, and veterinarians from South African National Parks (SANParks), the City of Cape Town, and penguin experts from the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB), started investigating the possible cause of death.
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“The dead birds were transported to SANCCOB for post-mortems, and biological samples were sent for disease and toxicology testing.
“No external physical injuries were observed on any of the birds. The post-mortems revealed that all the penguins had multiple bee stings, and many dead bees were found at the site where the birds had died.”
It said, therefore, preliminary investigations suggest that the penguins died because of being stung by a swarm of Cape honey bees.
“A dead penguin was also found on Fish Hoek beach yesterday, which the SANCCOB vet has confirmed also had multiple bee stings. However, samples are still being tested for other toxicity possibilities and diseases to rule out any other potential cause.
According to Dr. Alison Kock – SANParks Marine Biologist, they were grateful to all our conservation partners, especially SANCCOB and the City of Cape Town, for assisting them in investigating this unusual event.
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“No more dead African penguins were found on-site on Saturday, and we will continue to monitor the situation.”