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Vultures eat the remains of 52-year-old woman who fell to her death in France

The woman was left 'only bones, clothes and shoes'

The body of a woman who fell to her death off a cliff in the Pyrenees was eaten by vultures.

The woman was left "only bones, clothes and shoes."

Major Didier Pericou, from the gendarmerie, said the 52-year-old woman died when she fell down a 300m slope on the Pic de la Pista in southern France, near the border with Spain.

She had taken a shortcut while walking with two companions.

Major Pericou told 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 story will fuel the demands of local farmers for permission to shoot the Griffon vultures, which are a protected species. They have been angered by attacks on their livestock, and claim the protections are making the vulture population too big.

But the birds have been deprived of their traditional diet of carcasses by European health and safety regulations, which require breeders to burn dead animals.