Business

Meet the Kenyan teen whose ‘Lion Lights’ invention saved his community from predators

INNOVATION: Richard Turere

INNOVATION: Richard Turere

MEET 13-YEAR-OLD Richard Turere who is the inventor of “Lion Lights”, which protects humans and animals from the predators.

At the age of 11, Richard, from Kenya, decided it was time to find a way of protecting his family’s cows, goats and sheep from falling prey to hungry lions.

“One day, when I was walking around,” he says, “I discovered that the lions were scared of the moving light.

He put his young mind to work and a few weeks later he’d come up with an innovative, simple and low-cost system to scare the predators away.

On his own, he fitted a series of flashing LED bulbs onto poles around the livestock enclosure, facing outward.

The lights were wired to a box with switches and to an old car battery powered by a solar panel. They were designed to flicker on and off intermittently, thus tricking the lions into believing that someone was moving around carrying a flashlight.

The 13-year-old’s remarkable ingenuity was recognised with an invitation to the TED 2013 conference and a scholarship to one of the best schools in Kenya.

“I did it myself, no one taught me, I just came up with it,” says Turere. “I had to look after my dad’s cows and make sure that they were safe.”

The “Lion Lights” are being praised for saving cattle, saving lions, and saving money. Conservationists appreciate its humane approach.

As for Richard, he dreams of being an aircraft engineer and pilot.

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