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Woman apologises for getting ‘too close’ to South African penguins having sex in selfie

Sarah Young
Getty Images/iStockphoto

A woman has apologised for getting “too close” to a pair of penguins having sex while she was trying to take a selfie.

Earlier this week, Steph Elswood was visiting Boulders Beach in Cape Town, South Africa, when she spotted a group of penguins nearby and decided to take a series of photographs with them to share with her 239,000 followers on Instagram.

The YouTuber captured a number of different shots, including one posing behind a penguin as it strolled across the beach and another that showed her smiling as they waddled on the rocks.

However, there was one photo in particular that caught Elswood’s attention – a selfie that featured two penguins having sex.

In the caption for the post, which has since been liked nearly 12,000 times, Elswood explained that she had been trying to get a picture of herself with the two animals for around 10 minutes and that she was so focused on getting the perfect shot she didn’t realise what the penguins were up to.

“I was there for about 10 minutes trying to get a good pic next to my new pals Penny and Guin and THEY WERE HAVING SEX THE WHOLE TIME!!!!!!! I was being too self-absorbed to notice!!! HAHAHA OOPS,” Elswood wrote.

While the influencer and her followers were initially amused by the photos, Eslwood later updated the post with an apology after she was informed that many penguins on Boulders Beach have been becoming distressed due to tourists getting too close to take pictures.

“I have just been informed that the penguins on Boulders Beach are under a lot of stress due to tourists trying to get too close.

"I feel guilty that I contributed to that and thought that because they weren’t reacting when I got close that they weren’t bothered by me,” she wrote.

“If you are considering visiting this spot, then please be mindful and ask guards for appropriate distances because no one told us any of the rules I’ve been messaged about since posting this.

“I will definitely learn from this for the future and I’m sorry to anyone affected by this post.”

The impact of tourists on penguins at Boulders Beach has prompted South African National Parks to publish a “code of behaviour”.

The code instructs visitors to avoid penguin nesting areas and asks them to not harass or use selfie sticks near the animals.