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Woman Eaten by Vultures: Hiker Falls of Cliff in France and Dies

Travelers Today       By    Lena Vazifdar

Updated: May 06, 2013 05:25 PM EDT

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A hiker who is believed to have died from a 1,000 feet fall, was eaten by vultures before anyone could come and help her. The 52-year-old woman was hiking in the French Pyranees mountain range when she fell to her death. Her clothes shoes and bones were all that remained after her body was attacked by vultures after her fall, reported The New York Daily News.

The woman is believed to have died from the fall. She was hiking with two friends when she slipped and fell down a slope on the Pic de Pista. The Independent reported that she had taken a short cut when walking with two friends when she fell down the slope.

Major Didier Pericou, from the gendarmerie said to The Times, "It is established that she died in the fall. 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 45 to 50 minutes to eat the body."

The incident has fueled local farmers to demand for permission to shoot the Griffon vultures. They have been said to attack livestock. Currently, the vultures are a protected species.

"You can't imagine what it is like to see an animal eaten alive," said local farmer Alain Larralde after he saw vultures attack a live cow.

Currently, according to European health and safety regulations, farmers are required to burn their dead animals. The vultures have been deprived of their traditional carcass diet and the rule has lowered their food availability. This has caused them to attack young or unhealthy animals that are living as they don't have the food availability. The rules were made because of the fear of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease.

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