Richard Turere - this thirteen-year-old Kenyan has become one of the wildlife heroes protecting African lions.
Like most village boys his age, Richard is responsible for safeguarding his family’s livestock. “We are enemies, “ he says about the large-cat predators who come out of the nearby Nairobi National Park to prey on cows, goats and sheep.
The villagers’ solution to the raiding lions has always been to stab or poison the lion culprit.
Lion Enemy turned Wildlife Hero
Richard Turere noticed something that would prevent the killing of African lions. He realized the only time lions didn’t perform their nocturnal livestock raids was when someone was walking around with a flashlight. Lions are naturally afraid of people and probably equated the torch light with humans. It was this observation that led to Richard’s invention and subsequent status as one of the world’s wildlife heroes.
Using LED bulbs from broken flashlights, and wiring those bulbs to a box with switches, Richard rigged an automated lighting system powered from the solar panels and old car battery the family used to operate their TV. He attached the “lion lights” on poles around the livestock boma, and set them up to flash in sequence, giving the impression that someone is walking around the enclosure with a torch.
His invention is working. Neighbors have asked for similar set-ups to protect their livestock, and the Kenyan government, who have paid millions of shillings to communities for livestock loss, are supportive of this wildlife hero’s invention that stops lion predation by 100%.