A French tourist was eaten by vultures after she fell off a cliff and died in the French Pyrenees, on the border with Spain.
“When we first went out in the helicopter looking for the body, we saw numerous vultures without realizing what they were doing,” Major Didier Pericou of the Gendarmerie told the Times of London. “There were only bones, clothes and shoes left on the ground. They took 45 to 50 minutes to eat the body.”
The 52-year-old French woman’s name has not been released. She was hiking in the Pic de Pista with two friends when she fell after attempting to take a shortcut through the mountain range.
After the woman died and was eaten by vultures, the Times reported that a local campaign against Griffon vultures is gaining steam.
The local community in France wants the endangered vultures to be corralled. In addition to eating the woman, the vultures have been blamed for eating livestock.
"You can't imagine what it is like to see an animal eaten alive,” farmer Alain Larralde told French publication Le Nouvel Observateur, according to the Daily Mail.
The animals had to be burned amid fears of spreading Mad Cow disease, according to news.com.au.
The woman plunged 1,000 feet to her death before being eaten by the birds.
While locals say the vultures are a threat to the community, scientists believe the real problem is that the birds have difficulty finding food.
“We are seeing three-figure vulture flocks over Belgium and Holland. These birds are fanning out across Europe in search of food,” Grahame Madge, a European bird of prey expert for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, told the Daily Mail. “There is a conservation issue here.”