(Photo: Reuters/Noor Khamis)
A woman has been eaten by vultures in France, in an incident that has left locals shocked, according to reports.
The victim was a woman who fell from a cliff in France in what appears to be a tragic accident. The 52 year old woman had gone hiking with friends in the Pyrenees when she fell over the cliff to her death.
It has been reported that the woman dropped about 1,000 ft down off the cliff, and there is no way she could have survived the tremendous fall. However, before rescue workers could get down to her to recover the body, some aggressive vultures attacked the corpse and consumed her entire body.
Rescue workers continued their search for nearly an hour to try and recover some of her body, but they were unable to find any of it following the vultures' attack. According to reports, all that was left was the hiker's shoes, some of her torn clothing and a few bones.
The local major, Didier Pericou, has explained to the media that rescue workers had seen vultures circling the area that the hiker was believed to have fallen to, but they had no idea that they would get to the body before they could, and certainly did not believe they would have devoured the entire body before they got there.
It is not unheard of for vultures in the region to consume the carcasses left by French farmers, but until now it has been unheard of for a human body to be consumed.
In recent times, European health and safety regulations have made it illegal for farmers to leave animal carcasses out on the land, as aggressive vultures have caused increasing problems and the spread of diseases has become more highlighted. Instead farmers must now burn any animals that die in their care.
However, as the vultures' food sources have disappeared they appear to be increasingly aggressive to claim any food they can, and some believe that this is the reason why they attacked the hiker's body so quickly in this instance.
Vultures are now also increasingly attacking live animals on farms, and more than 40 farmers in France have made claims for reimbursement after their livestock had been attacked by vultures.
Vultures are also a protected species, so farmers are strictly prohibited from killing them.