Story

AS Monaco: What do you know about Bouba?

Bouba
AS Monaco

AS Monaco’s mascot since the early 1970s, Bouba, disappeared for a long time before making a comeback in 2016. Although parts are still shrouded in mystery, Bouba’s story is full of juicy anecdotes.

How did this funny elephant become the AS Monaco muse? “Well,” Laurent Peyronel, director of the Monaco animal garden sighs, “I have been asking myself the same question for over forty years!”

Jean Petit, Jean-Luc Ettori, the club, the supporters, even the Princely family… Laurent Peyronel asked around, but never really got any answers. So why an elephant, nicknamed Bouba, like the little cartoon bear?

Buon-Nam, a gift from the Emperor of Vietnam to Prince Rainier III

“In 1954, Prince Rainier III received an elephant as a gift from the Emperor of Vietnam, Bao-Daï,” says the director of the Monaco animal garden. “She was a young elephant calf named Buon-Nam. The keepers affectionately called her Bouna.”

Bouna-Prince-Rainier
©All rights reserved

An elephant. Bouna. We are getting there. In December 1954, she came to the animal garden. She was one of the very first residents.” Bouna lived in the park until she left for a zoo in northern Italy in 1982. It is said that she would trumpet when (many) goals were scored by AS Monaco at the old Louis II stadium.

Urban legend? “If you look at it pragmatically, yes,” smiles Laurent Peyronel. “She arrived in the park when she was little and was put in the upper section. She wouldn’t have been able to see the pitch from there.”

Did Bouna trumpet to celebrate AS Monaco’s goals?

But as she grew, Bouna was moved to another part of the park. “There, she was even less likely to see the stadium…” But a third location might have given rise to the legend. “As an adult, she was at the back of the park. And from there she could maybe have seen the pitch. But I find that hard to believe.”

Bouna-2
©All rights reserved

Perhaps she trumpeted by coincidence once when AS Monaco scored a goal. This is the “most credible” hypothesis according to Laurent Peyronel, who asked several former players if they had ever heard the animal. Here again, information is thin on the ground.

“I would love to have all the answers,” says the director of the animal garden. As would a lot of supporters. If you have any information, photos, videos or anecdotes, do please send them to this address: contact@monaco-tribune.com


What is Bouba’s role?

To entertain the children. This is Bouba’s main mission. The AS Monaco mascot loves selfies at the Louis II stadium, especially with the Munegu Family,  The most famous of Monaco’s mascots also attends the club’s charity events and accompanies AS Monacoeur.

©AS Monaco

Recently, Bouba was on hand at the start of the AS Monaco Kids Tour, after some impressive moves on skis last winter at the Sunset Park – Snowpark in Chamrousse, for the start of the Winter Olympics. Quite the  busy schedule for this elephant named Bouba, as a tribute to his ancestor… Bouna.