A woman was eaten by vultures after falling from a cliff in France. The 52-year-old woman was hiking with her friends in the Pyrenees when she fell to her death, over 1,000 feet from the hiking trail. Aggressive Griffon vultures consumed her entire body before she could be reached by rescue workers.
Rescue workers circled the area for around 45 minutes, trying to locate the hiker’s body. Unfortunately it was too late. As reported by MSN, the woman was eaten by vultures before her body could be recovered. By the time they found the woman, they could only recover her shoes, clothing and a few bones.
Major Didier Pericou states that the rescue workers noticed vultures circling the area, but they never thought they would find the woman before they did.
Aggressive vultures have become an increasing problem in France. Historically, the scavengers would feed on carcasses left by French farmers. However, European safety and health regulations have changed through the years, making it illegal to leave animal carcasses out on the land.
As reported by IBT, Farmers are now forced to burn any animals that have died in their care, eliminating the food source. Authorities think this may explain why the 52-year-old woman was eaten by the vultures.
As the vultures’ food has disappeared, they have been blamed for deadly attacks on livestock. Over 40 farmers have filed claims for reimbursement.
Vultures are a protected species, so the farmers are forbidden from killing the aggressive birds. Their protected status, along with depleted food sources, are causing some serious problems for french residents.
Some residents suggest that farmers should be allowed to leave the carcasses on the land, or should be given permission to shoot the vultures that threaten their animals.
Although the birds have grown increasingly aggressive, this has been the first report of a human being eaten by vultures.
[Image via Flickr]