Richard Turere may only be 13 years old, but his lion scaring invention has won him an invitation to the TED 2013 conference.
Turere lives in Kenya, and, for years, lions would attack his family’s cattle. After becoming fed up with the lions, the young man began to observe their habits. What Turere soon realized is that the animals were afraid of farmers walking through their fields with flashlights.
The young boy who grew up on the edge of the Nairobi National Park soon went to work on a simple and affordable solution.
Turere fitted a series of flashing LED bulbs around his family’s livestock enclosure. The young man then attached those lights to a car battery, which was then charged daily with the help of a solar panel. Richard then made the lights flicker on and off at varying intervals. The flickering lights he believed would mimic a moving flashlight.
As it turns out, the idea was not only simple, it was brilliant. Since installing the flashing lights system, no lion attacks have been reported.
The lights have astonished neighbors and Turere’s own family.
As he heads to the Ted 2013 Conference next week, Turere will speak among some of the world’s greatest minds. The most amazing part of his experience? Turere has had zero training in electronics. As the young man explains:
“I did it myself, no one taught me, I just came up with it. I had to look after my dad’s cows and make sure that they were safe.”
The young man’s invention is also being praised by city officials. Nairobi is the only world capital with a national park, and, for that reason, wild lions, rhinos, and other animals share land with a bustling city landscape. While officials do not want the lions to be killed, they also want to protect livestock and people. Thanks to the new “lion lights,” there is now a simple and effective solution for scaring off lions rather than killing them with poison and weapons.
While the area once housed more than 15,000 lions, the killing off of entire prides to protect livestock has raised the ire of the international community.