The 52-year-old woman tumbled down a 300-meter drop while taking a shortcut while hiking with friends on Pic de la Pista, in southern France, gendarmerie Major Didier Pericou told The Times of London.
"There were only bones, clothes and shoes left," after the vultures got to her, Pericou said. "They took 45 to 50 minutes to eat the body."
“It is established that she died in the fall," he said. “When we first went out in the helicopter looking for the body, we saw numerous vultures without realising what they were doing."
The incident has inflamed an ongoing campaign against the birds, known as Griffon vultures, by French farmers who have appealed to authorities to be allowed to shoot the vultures.
New European regulations have required breeders to burn the bodies of dead animals, depriving the Griffon population of their normal diet of scavenging and forcing them to go after live prey.