Skip to comments.Panic As 10,000 Hungry Vultures Go Searching For Fresh Meat
Posted on 08/06/2007 8:23:55 PM PDT by JACKRUSSELL
When a French pensioner died of a brain haemorrhage during a walk in the Pyrenees this summer, vultures started circling low over the body.
His three friends were really frightened, said a local resident. They were convinced the vultures were going to attack. They shouted and waved their arms and, in the end, they managed to scare the birds away. But they were in a complete panic.
There have been reports from across the French Pyrenees this year of a radical change in the way the regions vultures behave. A programme to incinerate animal carcasses in Spain has deprived les vautours of food, causing them to become aggressive. Where once they scavenged, now they hunt, according to farmers.
Alain Larralde, a cattle breeder in Ilharre in the French Basque country, said that in May he saw dozens of birds circle and kill a cow. There were so many of them that they covered the entire meadow, he said. Then I saw the cow slumped on the ground in the middle being devoured. It really hurt. You cant image what its like to see an animal being eaten alive.
So far this year officials have registered 42 demands for compensation from breeders who say their livestock has been attacked by vultures. There were 33 requests last year.
But ornithologists say it is collective hysteria. Denis Vincent, of the French Bird Protection League, said: For the most part these stories dont stand up. Its impossible for vultures to fly off with animals bigger than them, as people have claimed, especially when those animals are alive. He said that farmers were blaming vultures for killing sheep and cattle when, in fact, they were eating carcasses. Jean-Louis Venant, who collects birds of prey, added: The habits of vultures havent changed for thousands of years.
But vultures may never have been hungrier. A 2006 European Union directive forced Spain to ban the practice of leaving carcasses in open trenches. In upper Aragon, on the French border, they ate an estimated 8,000kg (17,600lb) of rotting meat every day. These carcasses are now burnt and Aragons 10,000 or so vultures must look elsewhere. In June, 200 were spotted in Belgium, where bird-lovers put 200kg of pork out for them to build up their strength for the journey back to Aragon.
In the French Pyrenees, the issue has become highly sensitive, with officials afraid that tourists will be driven away by what Le Nouvel Observateur magazine described as the mutant vultures. The birds have been a protected species since 1976. Now, amid claims that farmers are shooting at the birds, vets are to be paid to carry out an autopsy on all animals said to have been killed by vultures to separate fact from fiction.
Didier Herv, director of the Upper Barn Heritage Institute, said that panic was spreading. A mother told me that a flock of vultures settled next to her by the village fountain when she was with her children, he said.
Jean-Pierre Pommiès, a shepherd and mountain guide, reported an attack after taking tourists into the mountains. The vultures were chasing one of my sheep and pecking its leg, he said. I chased them away but if Id been five minutes later they would have cleaned up. They say the shepherds are inventing these stories, but this time there were 30 tourists who witnessed what happened.
Birds of a Feather
Griffon vultures breed across southern Europe, the Middle East and southern China. In winter they migrate to northeast Africa, the Arabian peninsula and north India
They are up to 43 inches (110cm) long, with wingspans of up to 110 inches. They weigh up to 22lb (10kg) and can live for up to 40 years
They are traditionally thought to survive exclusively on carrion
A griffon vulture will spend about 8 out of 24 hours in the air, during which time it is likely to cover 200 to 300 miles (320 to 480km)
The vultures I’ve seen hang together. Not only do they fly together they feed together.
“Its impossible for vultures to fly off with animals bigger than them, as people have claimed, especially when those animals are alive.”
What about the giant tsetse flies (”José Grecos de Muertos” a.k.a. the Flamenco Dancers of Death) which carried away the peasant babies in “their beaks” (”The In-laws”).
Furthermore, they were protected “under the provisions of the Guacamole Act...”
SURELY, these vultures are protected as well....
Mrs. Bundy, elderly ornithologist: I have never known birds of different species to flock together. The very concept is unimaginable. Why, if that happened, we wouldn’t stand a chance! How could we possibly hope to fight them?
“Panic As 10,000 Hungry Vultures Go Searching For Fresh Meat”
Black vultures will kill:
I much prefer the local turkey buzzards.
[who usually skedaddle when the BVs come back in the spring]
sooner or later you’d think the vultures would get the idea and cross spain off of their maps
This story is actually about birds. I thought it was going to be about Democrats.
So.. why don’t they just quit burning carcasses or shoot the darned vultures?
That puts in the mood for a little R6 Vegas.
Thanks for the quotes which just makes me want to see the movie again. We say “Serpentine, Shelly!” around this household. Certain lines are classics. My kids particularly liked, “I have flames on my car!”