Vultures ate a woman hiker after falling from a cliff in France

Griffon Vulture
As we all know, mountain climbers usually die by falling off a cliff that they are climbing. If you were to die from a fall off a cliff as a hiker, would you rather go the natural way of being buried or would you go the way a woman suffered in France when her body was eaten by vultures?

As reported by TF1 last May 4 2013, a 52-year-old woman hiker plunged 980 feet to her death when she fell off a cliff in the French Pyrenees mountain range on April 14. Shortly after her death, her body was devoured by griffon vultures in just 45 minutes, before rescuers found her body.

Major Didier Pericou of the local gendarmerie who headed the rescue operations told The Times of London of what they’ve found of the woman’s body. “There were only bones, clothes, and shoes left on the ground. They took 45 to 50 minutes to eat the body. When we first went out in the helicopter looking for the body, we saw numerous vultures without realizing what they were doing.”

The incident has sparked a campaign among local farmers who want to decrease the vulture population. European Union has restrictions on hunting Griffon vultures, one of the endangered species.

Due to the ban, their population has grown threatening the livestock of the local farmers. The birds have been deprived of animal carcasses due to anti-BSE European rules which states that farmers need to burn the bodies of dead animals. In turn, this has caused the hungry birds to turn to live cows and sheep as their lunch.

“You can’t imagine what it is like to see an animal eaten alive,” famer Alain Larraide, a said. He once recalled seeing vultures carrying off live animals, including an adult cow, before eating their victims.

Like any other vultures, Griffon vultures are scavengers who feed mostly from carcasses of dead animals. They are often seen moving in flocks as they find their food by soaring over open areas. They are known to establish colonies in cliffs that remain undisturbed by humans breeding on crags in mountains in southern Europe, north Africa, and Asia.