Influencer Apologises For Unknowingly Getting ‘Too Close’ To Penguins Having Sex

by : Emily Brown on : 26 Jan 2020 15:34
Influencer apologises after getting too close to penguins having sexSteph Elswood/Instagram

An influencer has apologised after accidentally getting too close to a pair of randy penguins while trying to take a selfie. 

YouTuber Steph Elswood was visiting Boulders Beach in Cape Town, South Africa, this week when she came across a number of cute penguins and decided to take some snaps to share with her 238,000 Instagram followers.


She posed with some of the happy-looking animals on the sand and could be seen grinning as they waddled about on the rocks, though there was one photo in particular that caught the attention of other Instagram users.

Influencer posing with penguin on Boulders BeachSteph Elswood/Instagram

The selfie showed the influencer grinning as she looked at the camera, which she angled to capture two penguins that were on the ground behind her.

In her post, Steph explained she’d been stood for ‘about 10 minutes’ trying to get a picture of herself with the two animals, but she was so focused on getting a good snap that she didn’t realise the penguins were involved in what should really have been an intimate, private activity.


As it turned out, Steph had been doing a photoshoot with two penguins having sex.

Taking to Instagram, the influencer wrote:

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.


Though the YouTuber was initially amused by the photos, she later learned penguins on Boulders Beach have been becoming distressed by tourists trying to get too close and take pictures with the little animals, as she had done.

A ‘code of behaviour’ issued by South African National Parks instructs tourists to avoid ‘penguin nesting areas’ and asks visitors not to harass penguins or use selfie sticks near the animals.

A Cape Town tourism website adds:

Do NOT feed the penguins or come too close. While they may look cute, they’re still wild animals.

Influencer posing with penguin on Boulders BeachSteph Elswood/Instagram

Three boardwalks have been constructed at Boulders Beach to accommodate the thousands of visitors who come to the beach each year, as well as to protect nesting penguins and their chicks.

After realising her mistake, Steph took to Instagram to apologise, claiming she had not been informed about how close she could get to the penguins.

She wrote:


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.

View this post on Instagram

Hello! 🐧 #BouldersBeach

A post shared by Visit Boulders Beach (@visitbouldersbeach) on

Steph went on to help raise awareness for the issue, saying:

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.

African penguins are classified as endangered animals, though the penguins at Boulders Beach are protected as their habitat forms part of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Animals, penguins, South Africa


Steph Elswood/Instagram
  1. Steph Elswood/Instagram