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Britain's only group of killer whales will die out because the females have been made sterile by chemical pollutants, scientists have said.
Found off the west coast of Scotland, the eight whales are the UK' s only resident orca population have not produced a calf in 25 years.
Researchers - Levels - Chemicals - Hormones
The researchers believe that this is because they have been exposed to catastrophic levels of chemicals that interfere with their hormones.
The pod are now believed to be doomed to extinction because these chemicals have destroyed their ability to reproduce.
Way - Population - Dr - Paul - Jepson
'There's no way that this population can recover,' Dr Paul Jepson, of the Zoological Society of London, said.
Experts have warned that these pollutants being dumped into Britain's landfill sites, rivers and seas that can affect the fertility and growth of wildlife.
Marine - Biologists - Pod - Males - Females
Marine biologists have been monitoring the pod, consisting of four males and four females, and have not seen any new animals enter the family.
They're identifiable through marks and coloration on the parts of the body that are visible when they surface.
Levels - Pharmaceuticals - Contraceptive - Pill - Antidepressants
Rising levels of human pharmaceuticals including the contraceptive pill, antidepressants and diabetes medication are thought to be the cause.
The medications contain a complex compound known as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs).
Impact - EDCs
The environmental impact of EDCs are not yet fully understood.
One of these EDCs is a chlorine compound known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) which can interfere with any aspect of hormone action.
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