Socotra’s Guardian

Sheikh Suleiman’s life story is a testament to resilience and a deep love for his homeland, Socotra. Born in the Vermahn area, Sheikh Suleiman’s childhood was steeped in tradition. He helped raise sheep and cows, their milk and meat sustaining his family. They also harvested the precious Dragon’s Blood trees, their crimson sap a source of income.

Life was challenging, but Sheikh Suleiman persevered. He married young and raised a family. His children found work in the capital while he continued tending to their livestock. However, tragedy struck during a hurricane. They lost some animals, a harsh reminder of nature’s power.


Socotra, Yemen


World Food Programme Yemen



Despite the setbacks, Sheikh Suleiman witnessed a period of development in Socotra. Tourists began visiting, bringing both economic opportunities and concerns. He saw the potential benefits of tourism but worried about the impact on the fragile environment, particularly the majestic Dragon’s Blood trees.

This concern fueled Sheikh Suleiman’s most inspiring act. He established a nursery for these iconic trees, a project entirely his own. His vision: to cultivate smaller Dragon’s Blood trees, ensuring their survival despite sheep grazing freely. He meticulously cared for the nursery, determined to showcase the beauty of these trees at all stages of growth.

Sheikh Suleiman’s project faces challenges. Building a sturdy fence to protect the seedlings from sheep is a constant struggle. Yet, he remains undeterred. He understands the vital role the Dragon’s Blood forest plays in Socotra’s ecosystem and its importance to his community.

Having witnessed the devastation of hurricanes, Sheikh Suleiman is acutely aware of the need to preserve this natural wonder. He’s planting these “blood of the two brothers” trees not just for his generation but for generations to come.

Sheikh Suleiman’s story is one of courage, resourcefulness, and a deep respect for nature. He is a shepherd, a father, and a guardian of Socotra’s precious Dragon’s Blood trees, ensuring their fiery red legacy continues to stand tall.


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