dozens of penguins killed by bees

African penguins are threatened with extinction.

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Sixty-three African penguins, a species listed as endangered, found dead on a beach near Cape Town have been killed by bee stings, reveals the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (Sanccob). “The birds were stung to death by bees “, Foundation veterinarian David Roberts told AFP. The penguins were found on Friday, September 17, on the beach in Simon’s Town, about forty kilometers from Cape Town. Bites were detected especially around their eyes and dead bees were found on the beach, said the specialist.

Other tests to possibly detect disease or toxic substances, as well as autopsies, were carried out. David Roberts lamented a fact “rare and unusual” which affects an endangered species, but in the area which is a national park, “bees are also part of the ecosystem”, he stressed.

South Africa is home to the world’s largest penguin colony. African penguins are threatened with extinction, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Only 13,000 pairs were recorded worldwide in 2019, mainly in South Africa and neighboring Namibia. According to the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (link in English), over the past 30 years, South Africa has lost 73% of its penguins. “If the current population decline continues, the African penguin could disappear from the west coast of South Africa in 14 years,” warns the Foundation.

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