Sarit Center, Nairobi
Oct 9-12, 2024

Turere

How Richard Turere’s Lion Lights Invention Ingeniously Curbs Livestock Loss

Living among lions comes with a cost. Richard Turere, a Maasai youngster from Kitengela, Kenya, was becoming increasingly concerned about his family’s livestock. Lions, driven by a lack of habitat and prey, were increasingly targeting cow pens near Nairobi National Park. Turere, nine, decided he had to act after witnessing lions hunt down his cows.

His solution was not firearms or fences, but rather a stroke of genius motivated by his own deeds. When he patrolled the cattle kraal with a lantern, lions were apprehensive of his presence. This simple observation generated the concept for the well-known Lion Lights.

Turere began tinkering with discarded electronics, creating a system of flashing LED lights. He connected the lights to an indication box, simulating the movement of a patrolling human with a flashlight. He recognized the importance of unpredictability. He set the lights to flash random sequences, preventing the lions from memorizing a regular pattern.

The early models, which used vehicle batteries charged with solar panels, were incredibly effective. Turere’s family has had no further lion assaults on their animals. Word of this success spread rapidly, and adjacent cities were anxious to implement the Lion Lights system.

Turere’s invention had a great impact. Livestock losses have decreased, providing economic stability for communities living near lion habitats. More importantly, Lion Lights have enabled harmonious coexistence. By preventing attacks, the system protects both livestock and lions, which is an important step in wildlife preservation.

Turere’s story does not end there. His creation has gained him international acclaim, including the coveted Young Inventors Prize. He keeps improving the Lion Lights, making them portable for nomadic tribes and including wind power as a backup for overcast days.

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