The French President's Camel Was 'Eaten in Mali'

"Which camel, Monsieur Président? Oh, that camel? Ah, yes. We ate it."

Usually, a sheepish "Oh, sorry, I ate that" response comes from peckish roommates, siblings who didn't know that was "yours," or friends who believe fridge-raiding is a sign of closest intimacy. Rarely does it involve a once alive even-toed, multi-humped ungulate, weighing an average of 800 pounds.

Regardless, French President Francois Hollande discovered that his prized camel was consumed in Mali. Things are not going well in Hollande's life, what with a ministerial tax fraud scandale and Eurozone woes. And now, he is denied the comfort of a pet, of which he once declared: "I will use it as a means of transport as often as possible."

The young creature was a gift to Hollande from a local official as a sign of gratitude for driving out Islamic extremists from the country. The gift has been slaughtered and stewed, according to Jean-Yves Le Drian, France's defense minister.

However, this camel was apparently never a well-behaved or scandale-free pet. First, a man from the Timbuktu area said that the camel had been stolen from him, after his home was destroyed in a French air raid. Though this claim was dismissed, the "handover ceremony" did not go swimmingly, as the animal screeched so loudly and consistently it overpowered the Malian official's speech.

While Hollande may have given the impression he wanted to gallop down the streets of Paris astride his gifted camel, this was unlikely to be his intention. He attempted to have the camel vaccinated and brought to a zoo in France. There the creature could have enjoyed the company of many other prestigious animals given to French presidents as gifts. His best friends would be two Bengal tigers once belonging to George Pompidou, as well as François Mitterrand's haughty Asian elephant, and some bison given to Valérie Giscard d'Estaing.

Eventually, when faced with complications of transferring the camel to an unsuitable climate for a desert-dwelling quadruped, Hollande entrusted a family in Timbuktu to care for his cherished pet. Mr. Le Drian reported that the family did not babysit the camel for long before making it into a traditional tagine stew and another addition to Hollande's stream of recent disappointments.

[Telegraph | Salon , image via AP | Vladimir Wrangel, Shutterstock]