French police have confirmed that Griffon Vultures ate the body of a female walker who fell from a cliff when walking in the Pyrenees.
According to a report in The Times, the 52-year-old woman fell down a 300-metre slope on the Pic de la Pista after taking a short cut. She was walking with two other people at the time.
Major Didier Pericou of the gendarmerie said that it was established that the woman died in the fall.
He said: "When we first went out in the helicopter looking for the body, we saw numerous vultures without realising what they were doing. There were only bones, clothes and shoes left on the ground. They took 40 to 50 minutes to eat the body."
IBTimes reports that the birds have protected status, but French farmers are now demanding the right to shoot them, following attacks on sheep and cows.
This is believed to be happening as a result of an EC ruling which prevents the carcasses of dead animals being left in fields because of the risk of BSE transmission. As a result, the vultures have lost their primary source of food and are so hungry that they have started scavenging for live prey.
The New Scientist reported some time ago that large flocks of vultures had been attacking live animals in Spain. The large Griffon Vultures were the hardest hit, with many failing to find enough food to survive.
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