French President Francois Hollande's Camel Eaten By Mali Family

When the French president was presented with the gift of a camel as a present from the people of Mali for his country's intervention against Islamist rebels, the unfortunate animal probably thought it would now spend the rest of its days larking around in the gardens of the Élysée Palace.

Alas, it was not to be. A trusting François Hollande reportedly left his precious baby dromedary, a present from a local official, in the care of a local Timbuktu family - who have now eaten it, according to Le Figaro.

Jean-Yves Le Drian, France's defence minister announced that the camel, presented to Hollande during his visit to Mali in February, but logistics prevented it returning to Paris with the president, who had joked that he would use it as a means to get around the city's traffic.

Now, the minister said, it has been killed and turned into a tagine.

The camel has been the source of some controversy for the beleaguered French President, who has problems enough with the French economy and low opinion polls.

When the camel was first presented to him, it screeched repeatedly as Hollande tentatively patted it on the head. And just a few days later, a furious Malian claimed his intention to sue the French president, because the camel was, in fact, stolen.

Camel's are regularly killed for the meat in the Middle East and Africa and the meat is halal, although not kosher. The brisket, ribs and loin are among the preferred parts, and the hump is considered a delicacy.

The fat inside the camel's hump is used to preserve the rest of the meat, which can turn very tough.