Listen, I know that generally speaking, the bees are good and we need them. I know that they are, and have been, dying at alarming rates due to existential menaces such as giant bee-thirsty hornets and almond milk. But that does not excuse the recent behavior of a bunch of honeybees in Cape Town, which murdered 63 endangered African penguins — in cold blood, I might add. A clinical veterinarian for the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, which reported the crime on Facebook, told The Guardian that the killing spree was likely “a fluke,” which … it had better be. The details are grisly, and penguin slaughter is unacceptable.
According to the SANCCOB, the bees carried out their massacre sometime between September 16 and 17, at the Boulders African penguin colony in Simon’s Town. “Losing over 60 healthy and most likely breeding, adult African penguins is quite a blow for the Boulders colony, and the species that is already in trouble,” rangers with the group wrote in their post. “Some of these birds would have had eggs and chicks, and one partner often can’t supply sufficient food or leave the chicks alone.” Wow, legions of little chicks potentially orphaned or starving, all because of these goddamn bees? Why would they do something like this??
“A bee nest must have been disturbed, causing the bees to swarm this way,” Ronnis Daniels, resource development manager at SANCCOB, told Gizmodo. “It’s an unfortunate case of the penguins being in the wrong place at that time.” Incidents like these “can happen in a normal balanced ecosystem,” SANCCOB clinical veterinarian David Roberts said, adding: “If the penguins were not in such trouble already, it wouldn’t be such a tragedy.”
African penguins are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list, and South Africa reportedly only has about 10,300 breeding pairs left — one reason why this attack feels especially upsetting. Losing any single African penguin is “very worrying for the species,” Roberts told Gizmodo, because of their hyperprecarious status. But climate change? Noise and chemical pollution due to merciless boat traffic? Not unrelatedly, depleted food sources? And now this? Swarms of idiot bees going straight for the eyes? Leaving as many as 20 stings in some of our peaceful pingus, per postmortems performed on the deceased? The bees can fuck right off! The bees have gone too far.