In Nairobi, the invention of a young Maasai boy in Kenya is helping to prevent lions from killing livestock near wildlife areas. The Conservation Group Kalasingha has been installing Lion Lights around the boundary of the Nairobi National Park that borders on homestead areas. The solar powered lights were donated by Hardip Chana and Jagdish Ryatt.
According to Inside Africa, the flashing lights that keep lions away from people and domestic stock pens were invented by a young Maasai boy in 2013. Richard Turere was younger than thirteen when he designed his invention, but he made headline #News in 2013 when he was invited to attend a TED Conference in California.
The TED Conference is a non-profit organization that presents a platform for change amongst the world’s most innovative thinkers. When Richard presented his talk entitled 'My invention that made peace with lions,' interest in his theories spiked. He explained that the Southern portion of the Nairobi National Park is not completely fenced. When the zebras come out of the reserve, the predators follow them. This brings them into conflict with domestic livestock.
As a young boy, Richard was looking after his father's cattle. The young herders are responsible for the welfare of their livestock. Thinking lions might be afraid of fire; Richard tried to scare them with flame. When that didn't work, he tried to use scarecrows. When that failed, he began to run out and flash his spotlight at the lions. He noticed that when he did this the lions stayed away.
This gave him a new idea. He took apart his mother’s new radio to figure out how electronics worked and rigged up a flashing light system around the cattle pens. The lions simply stopped trying to attack the animals. When the rest of the local community heard about his invention, they too installed the lights and lion attacks reduced considerably.
His invention was later used to try and scare elephants away from crops. The installation of the lights around the Nairobi National Park has helped to fulfill his dream: to see his Lion Lights save cattle, lions, and human lives across Kenya. #Buzz