Photo: iStockphoto

First, the good news: there’s an International Penguin Conference! Who knew? Now, the bad news: at said conference, taking place this week in Tasmania, a team of researchers has reported that the world’s penguins are in trouble. The 17 species “face serious population decreases throughout their range,” the team wrote, adding that officials, scientists, and the public need to take action if there’s any hope of reversing the trend. OK, ready for the really bad news? “Penguins are the bellwether of climate change,” says seabird ecologist Eric Woehler. “As birds they’re pretty much at the top of the food chain and act as two-footed bio-indicators of the health of the environment, marine and terrestrial.” So … the bio-indicators are dying? You have our permission to waddle into a corner and cry.

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