In this July 31, 2015 photo, an orca whale "spyhops," a vertical partial-rise out of the water, in the Salish Sea in the San Juan Islands, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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Killer whales in European waters face extinction due to outlawed but long-lived pollutants that also threaten several species of dolphins, according a study released Thursday.The deadly compounds – used in manufacturing and construction and banned across the European Union in 1987 – can also be passed on to orca and dolphin calves suckling their mothers' milk.A community of 36 orcas, or killer whales, off the coast of Portugal – observed by scientists for decades – has not produced any offspring in more than ten years, the study reported.Further north, a healthier population of several thousand orcas living in waters near Iceland and northern Norway provide additional evidence that PCBs are, in fact, causing the decline of their cousins to the south.Whereas the southern killer whales eat large fish and mammals, such as seals, the Arctic orcas subsist almost exclusively on herring.
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