The West

Vultures have eaten a tourist in the Pyrenees before emergency services were able to reach her.

The 52-year-old woman slipped and fell 300metres on the Pic de Pista after taking a short cut while walking with two friends, reports the Daily Mail.

Her body was devoured by Griffon vultures, leaving only bones, clothes and shoes, according to police.

Furious locals are demanding that authorities take action against the endangered carrion-eaters, which have begun attacking live animals since a European edict that dead livestock must not be left in the fields.

Farmers want to be given the right to shoot the protected birds, which they say have started to prey on live sheep and cows, the Daily Mail reports.

A police officer said he believed the woman died in the fall, but added that there was little left of her by the time a search party found her body.

"When we first went out in the helicopter looking for the body, we saw numerous vultures without realising what they were doing," he told The Daily Mail. "There were only bones, clothes and shoes left on the ground.

"They took 40 to 50 minutes to eat the body."

According to the Daily Mail, vulture fears have been growing in recent years as they have moved from their mountain habitat.

Local farmer Alain Larralde said he saw a group of vultures attack and start eating an adult cow. There have been reports of live animals carried off.

"You can't imagine what it is like to see an animal eaten alive," Mr Larralde said.

But bird of prey expert Grahame Madge said the vultures were spreading across Europe.

"We are seeing three-figure vulture flocks over Belgium and Holland in search of food," he said. "There is a conservation issue here."

The West Australian

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