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OFFBEAT

Blow for Hollande as Mali family ‘eats his camel’

He is struggling to deal with the fallout of one of the biggest ever political scandals to rock France, his efforts to revive the economy have come to nothing and now his camel has been eaten. Could things get any worse for François Hollande?

Blow for Hollande as Mali family 'eats his camel'
File photo: Itir Sonuparlak

A camel given as a gift to the French President on a recent trip to Mali has reportedly been turned into stew, by the family asked to take care of it.

Reports in the French press this week revealed that the camel, which was given to François Hollande on his recent trip to celebrate the successful military intervention in Mali, has already been eaten.

When Hollande was presented with the animal on February 2nd he faced the difficult question of what to do with the gift.

He reportedly asked a local family to look after it and joked that he would “use it as a means of transport whenever I come back”.

However the problem of what to do with the camel appears to have been ruthlessly solved.

The animal would have made an interesting addition to his garden at the Elysée Palace and any number of zoos in France could have provided a home, but sadly the animal only made it as far as a casserole dish in a Mali village.

According to French Magazine Valeurs Actualites (Current Values), who quoted sources close to the French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian, the camel ended up as a typical Saharan tajine stew.

There was better news for Hollande on Wednesday however when Reuters reported that officials in Mali, shocked at the demise of the first camel, had replaced it with a bigger and better version.

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TOURISM

France’s Asterix park to shut down dolphin show

A major amusement park in northern France said on Monday it would close its dolphin and sea lion aquarium, the day before lawmakers start to debate new animal welfare rules.

France's Asterix park to shut down dolphin show
France has long discussed imposing stricter rules on using wild animals in amusement parks. Illustration photo: AFP

The dolphin shows are a popular attraction at Parc Asterix, which normally has some two million visitors a year, but have long been a target of animal rights activists.

“We've been thinking about this for several years,” the park's managing director Nicolas Kremer told Le Parisien newspaper, saying the site wanted to focus instead on rides and other shows.

He said the dolphins would be transferred to other aquariums in Europe in the next two months, adding: “Reintroduction in a natural environment is not possible for these animals raised in captivity.”

A ban on captive breeding of dolphins and other marine mammals as well as their use in shows is a key part of the draft law, with the debate due to begin on Tuesday.

A previous effort to outlaw the practices by decree in 2017 was thrown out by the Council of State, France's highest administrative court, but animal rights group have kept up pressure for the ban.

“These associations think that captivity is abuse, but I can tell you that we have always ensured the wellbeing of our animals,” Kremer said.

The park, based on the beloved Asterix the Gaul comics, is hoping to reopen for the busy summer season on April 3rd if coronavirus restrictions are lifted by then.

READ ALSO: Disneyland Paris to begin 'phased reopening' in July

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