Wild At Life Project

Saving Süleyman the Giraffe

from the lap of his dead mother

Activity status: Ongoing
Area of Activity: Bela Bela Sanctuary, South Africa

Süleyman is a living example of the repercussions of wildlife poaching. In parts of Africa, giraffes are hunted for their meat, pelts, bones, and tails – which are deemed highly valuable in some African cultures. However, irresponsible and illegal wildlife poaching of female giraffes often results in calves, like Süleyman, being orphaned.


On March 2023, the Wild at Life e.V. team was notified of a young giraffe lying on his motionless mother. Upon arrival, the team learnt that the mother giraffe had been shot several days prior and the baby giraffe remained by her side, waiting for her to come back to life. As there were no giraffe herds in sight, it is presumable that they had left to carry on with their journey. We named the calf Süleyman, and he was promptly rescued and brought to Bela Bela sanctuary.

Transporting Süleyman to Bela Bela sanctuary
Transporting Süleyman to Bela Bela sanctuary

Süleyman’s first 14 days in Bela Bela sanctuary were crucial and would determine his likelihood of survival. At first, he did not eat and was understandably stressed from the change of environment and the absence of his mother. Thankfully, he soon got acquainted with the sanctuary’s caregivers and even made friends with Purry, a resident cat. Despite what he had gone through, Süleyman is a mischievous, bundle of joy that continues to flourish each day.

Süleyman & Purry
Süleyman: :P

(Although it does not seem that Purry fancies Süleyman)

A frequently underestimated part of conservation efforts

is what happens after the immediate rescue of an animal. Feeding, caring for, and otherwise sustaining the animals in a sanctuary like Bela Bela is equally important and unfortunately not cheap.

Thank you for showing love to Süleyman!

Update: April 15, 2023

Moving Süleyman to a larger enclosure!

When Asli, the founder of Wild at Life e.V., visited Bela Bela sanctuary in mid-April, one of her To-dos is to relocate Süleyman to a larger space now that he is stronger and does not need constant monitoring.

Relocating Süleyman
Relocating Süleyman

Süleyman was moved to a larger enclosure that also houses one Kudu, one Nyala, and two Sable antelopes. Doing so minimises Süleyman’s interaction with humans, and acclimatises him to be with other herbivores, as giraffes would be in the wild.

Süleyman's new friends
Süleyman & friends

In a year or so when Süleyman is older, he will be introduced to the other resident giraffes at Bela Bela sanctuary.

This project is carried out in the following activity areas
Endangered species rescue, conservation & anti-poaching

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