Remembering the Fallen: Giraffe’s Resolute Effort to Safeguard Her Calf from Hyenas


This was the heart-breaking moment a giraffe tries saving her dead calf from hyenas in the Greater Kruger – but she does not give up or forsake it.

34-year old, field guide Alexandra Olivieri shared this intense sighting. She witnessed a giraffe cow giving it her all, to keep hyenas from devouring her calf, long after it was caught.

Alexandra tells the incredible story:
“I was working at Kings Camp in the Timbavati, when suddenly my tracker and I spotted a net of vultures coming down from the sky.”

“Ironically we had just been at the hyena den when we decided to investigate what the vultures were being attracted to. The scene was quite something. We didn’t expect to find a female giraffe fiercely fighting the hyena clan off the carcass of her (potentially) newborn calf.”

“It was quite a shock as we weren’t expecting such a scene. The fierceness of the female giraffe was just remarkable. I think that was what was the most shocking to us – her growling and stomping to fight the hyenas off.”


“The following morning we returned to see what had unfolded during the night. When we eventually arrived at the sighting a hyena clan was feeding on the carcass. As the hyena social dynamics played out, a male lion appeared and stole the carcass from the hyenas and proceeded to finish it.”

“Follow the signs of the bush. If it hadn’t been for the vultures we wouldn’t have been able to witness any of it. It’s also important to remain sensitive to the scene that unfolds in front of you. Give the animals space, allow them to continue with you just as an observer, without interfering or impacting the sighting.”



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