May 6, 2013 at 2:47 pm #1302625
@robertm2sLocale: Lake Tahoe
What if she had fallen only 20 feet, and wasn't dead, would the vultures have eaten her anyway?
The body of a woman who died after falling off a cliff in France was devoured by vultures in just 45 minutes, before rescue workers were able to reach the body.
The 52-year-old woman was hiking with two friends in the French Pyrenees on April 14 when she fell off a cliff and plunged more than 980 feet to her death, according to France's TF1. The woman's body was eaten by vultures in minutes.
“There were only bones, clothes and shoes left on the ground,” Major Didier Pericou told The Times of London. "They took 45 to 50 minutes to eat the body." Adding, "When we first went out in the helicopter looking for the body, we saw numerous vultures without realizing what they were doing."May 6, 2013 at 2:53 pm #1983836
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
In 45 minutes? That's just disturbing.May 6, 2013 at 3:20 pm #1983844
That is crazy. From what I've heard though, they wouldn't likely go after a large animal that was still showing signs of life… too much risk for injury.
If I was dead, I would prefer being eaten by animals than being cremated or buried. If a sky burial was an option in the US, that's what I'd want. Or just feed me through a wood chipper off the end of a pier.May 6, 2013 at 4:09 pm #1983862
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"In 45 minutes? That's just disturbing."
Nah. Just darned efficient.May 6, 2013 at 4:16 pm #1983864
–In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.–May 6, 2013 at 4:20 pm #1983865
@millonasLocale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Yikes! This is quote I never thought would come out of my mouth, but – I hope she was dead, and not just dazed.
Vultures are usually very cowardly and even a breathing body should scare them off from actually taking a nip. Raven's are well known for being quite "scared" and cautious around genuinely dead carcases they want to feed on. Bernd Heinrich has researched this extensively, though it is still not too clear how such behavior could be adaptive in the wild since there aren't too many predators that lure in their prey by playing dead. LOL
I can't help thinking this might have been some sort of group feeding frenzy thing where their natural reticence was lowered by sheer numbers.
Anyway, it sounds like the next installment of SciFi channel B movie night – "coming up next, Sharktopus vs The Vulture Swarm."May 6, 2013 at 4:53 pm #1983875
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"I hope she was dead, and not just dazed."
I think it would be reasonable to conclude that, after falling more than 980 feet, she was feeling no pain. Gruesome as it may seem, she was returned to the chain of feeding in the most natural of ways; it was a far better way to depart this vail of tears, IMO, than being pumped full of formaldehyde and put in a hole in the ground, thereby consuming untold resources and energy for no good reason, or being cremated and contributing to climate change.May 6, 2013 at 4:59 pm #1983879
W I S N E R !Participant
Better vultures than marmots, I always say.May 6, 2013 at 5:03 pm #1983883
After falling 980 feet, if she wasnt dead she was probably beyond caring.
Dont know what kind of vultures they have over there, but ones where I am will get on an animal that is dying. Ive shot a deer before that already had been attacked by the time I got to it just minutes later.May 6, 2013 at 5:18 pm #1983887
In related news…scores of french vultures are dying. Preliminary toxicology reports show high traces of pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals and pesticides may be the culprit. The vulture corpses have been found in the vicinity of a 980ft cliff where a 52 year old woman recently fell to her death while hiking.May 6, 2013 at 5:24 pm #1983890
I thought the French had better taste than that.May 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm #1983898
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
Knock it off, wiseguys.
There's nothing funny about falling to one's death.
Talk about vultures……….May 6, 2013 at 6:01 pm #1983905
– -K.T.- –Participant
I hope she was enjoying the hike up to that point. That is a long fall. Too long.May 6, 2013 at 7:07 pm #1983918
I was about to post something about this sounding like an internet urban legend, but I googled it and it really happened. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Yuck!May 6, 2013 at 7:18 pm #1983922
Those are Griffin Vultures … one of the "Old World Vultures", which are related to eagles and hawks, unlike "New World Vultures", which are a family of their own. Scavenging is what they have in common.
Griffins are large birds … weighing 14-20 lbs (with all raptors, males are smaller). Turkey and Black Vultures typically weigh 3-3.5 lbs. Very different birds! There's little to be gained in drawing conclusions about one based on observations of the other.
Doesn't take a lot of reading to learn that the Griffin population multiplied more than six fold in the last part of the twentieth century … thought to be related to vastly increased intensive livestock raising. Carcasses of dead animals were routinely dumped to be eaten by scavengers. Reliable surplus food makes for hyper-successful reproduction. In 2002 that dumping was made illegal due to concerns about mad cow disease. Reproduction has plummeted since then but these are long lived birds, perhaps 20 years in the wild if they live to see their first birthday (first year mortality is very high for most raptors). SO, they are left with a large population of very hungry large birds.
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