In recent news, 63 endangered South African penguins were tragically killed by enraged Cape Honey bees during an attack on the penguin’s colony in Simon’s Town, South Africa.
According to conservationists, this accident would not result in the species’ extinction but the unexpected and sudden loss of so many of the penguins puts them in an even more dire situation. “The reason why it is so tragic is that the African penguin is highly endangered and we have so few birds left in the wild,” said Katta Ludynia, research manager at South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB). “A healthy population could deal with a freak incident like this. But because there are already so few birds left in the wild, we are basically trying to save every single one. And losing that number of birds is obviously horrible.” The African penguins’ summer migration to Simon’s Town was recently featured in a Netflix documentary named “Penguin Town” and narrated by the actor Patton Oswalt.
The dead penguins were first found on Friday morning and had multiple bee stings on their skin. Later, dead bees were also found onshore which confirmed the cause of death of the penguins by the bees. According to David Roberts, a veterinarian at SANCCOB, “This is a very rare occurrence. We do not expect it to happen often, it’s a fluke.” Since the penguins that died did not have any prior disease and were a healthy bunch, it will greatly affect their population now and make it difficult to get them out of the endangered species list anytime soon.
In a video report uploaded by Reuter’s, there are graphic images that show the penguins that were targeted by the bees so viewer discretion is advised.
Hopefully the penguins that did survive will be able to breed normally in the future and get their species out of the danger of extinction.