Sxity-three endangered penguins were found dead in South Africa, and the culprit behind the unfortunate event was not a disease or climate-induced conditions, but a swarm of honey bees. According to PhysOrg, the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds or SANCCOB informed that the remains of the penguins were discovered at a beach in the region of Cape Town.

Penguins in Cape Town Slaughtered by Honey Bees

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(Photo : Bernard Gagnon / WikiCommons)

SANParks-Table Mountain National Park detailed the report and said that the lifeless penguins were discovered in their own habitat at Boulders African colony in Simonstown. After analyzing their carcass, experts theorized that the animals met their fate sometime between Thursday afternoon and Friday evening.

The dead body of the penguins was then transported to the conservation laboratory for a more elaborate explanation as to what really happened to the group. The findings showed no physical inflictions on the external anatomy of the African penguins. However, the cause of death in the group was potentially the same for each of the colony members, and it was revealed that honey bees were responsible for the slaughter. In addition, the location where the dead penguins were discovered had been full of lifeless bees scattered.

The conservation experts said that Cape Town's local bees stung the penguins to their death. In addition to the case of the colony, a single penguin was also spotted in the area of Fish Hoek Beach. According to the reports, the lone penguin was found with multiple bee stings.

SANCCOB said in their recent update that losing over 60 active and breeding penguins inflicted a significant impact on the Boulders colony, considering that the penguins and other species living in the vicinity are endangered. The conservation's founder and veterinary expert avid Roberts said that they did not expect a slaughter would happen in just a short amount of time. The expert said that the penguins did not deserve to die in the most unimaginable way.

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What is the African Penguin?

African penguins or Spheniscus demersus have their bodies slightly smaller compared to other groups and can grow for only 60 to 68 centimeters tall and measures 3.7 to 5 kilograms of weight. They are best known for their other names such as black-footed, jackass, or Cape penguins.

Among the unique features of the African penguins are their black feathers that cross through their breast and the skinless portion surrounding their eyes. Along with South Africa, these penguins are also found in Namibia.

African penguins have the ability to breed at any point of the year. They populate and inhabit near the Atlantic regions, specifically in the rocky beaches located in mainland Namibia and South Africa. Although they multiply at any time they prefer, the African penguin's breeding phase peaks between the months of March and May for the South Africa group and November and December for the Namibia group. They are also known as monogamous species, meaning that they conduct intercourse and breed with just one social partner 80 to 90 percent of the time in a whole breeding season.

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