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More than 60 endangered African penguins killed by a swarm of bees

The event is being called a "very rare occurrence." It is not expected to happen often.

PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa — Editor's note: The penguins pictured above were not killed by bee stings.

More than 60 endangered African penguins on a beach outside of Cape Town have been killed by a swarm of bees according to a CBS News article.

The Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coast Birds says "After tests, we found bee stings around the penguins' eyes." 

Along with the 63 dead penguins, dead bees were also found at the scene.

David Roberts, a clinical veterinarian for the foundation, says that this is a very rare occurrence and they do not expect it to happen often. Also calling it a fluke. 

The CBS article says the area where the penguins were found is a national park and the Cape honey bees are actually part of the ecosystem. 

"The penguins... must not die just like that as they are already in danger of extinction. They are a protected species," said Roberts. 

African penguin deaths being investigated On Friday morning, 17 September 2021, 63 African penguins were found dead...

Posted by SANParks - Table Mountain National Park on Saturday, September 18, 2021

The South African National Parks said the birds have been taken to the foundation for testing and to have samples taken as there were no external physical injuries to the birds, only visible bee stings.

These African penguins face a high risk of extinction. They inhabit the coast and islands of southern Africa and are on the International Union for Conservation of Natures red list according to CBS.