11-year-old Kenyan boy invents cheap, safe, and effective way to scare away lions using LED lightsMarch 3, 2013 2 Email article | Print article
Richard Turere is a seemingly regular boy living in Kenya. Like many Kenyan families, Turere’s family survives by raising cattle and Turere must help in taking care of them (e.g. herding). However while on the outside he may look like the average teenager, he has proven to be quite sharp. How, do you ask? By inventing a method to scare away lions.
When Turere, who is 13 now, was 11-years-old, he noticed “lions were scared of moving light”. For example, lions, who were typically brazen in eating his family’s cattle, did not venture close when someone was inside the stockade with flashlight. So Turere devised a plan to fit LED lights — powered by an old car battery with a solar panel — around his family farm’s stockade. The idea was to set the lights to flicker automatically every so often so that the lions would think someone was in the stockade. And it worked.
Dubbed ‘Lion Lights’, the lights were successful in keeping lions away from his family’s cattle. After Turere installed the lights, not one cattle was lost to lions whereas before it losing cattle to lions was simply the cost of doing business in Kenya.
Check out the following video (roughly eight minutes long) on Lion Lights:
It is hard to know if Turere will financially profit off his invention or not but he has received a scholarship to Brookhouse International School as a result of Lion Lights and has been invited to attend TED 2013, a great honor in and of itself. Well done, young lad.