13-year-old Maasai teen Richard Turere has been helping his family to protect their cattle herd from lion attacks since he was just 9-years-old. Richard was frustrated about the lion attacks that he could not prevent, ones that took place in the middle of the night while everyone was sleeping – so he did something about it.
The young boy had noticed that when he walked around the cattle pen with a flashlight, the lions seemed to stay away – so a few years ago he set to work creating an automated lighting system that would deter the lions.
He rigged up some LED flashlights to a car battery and some switches that flashed the lights in random patterns to simulate the appearance of somebody patrolling the enclosure with a light. As if the system wasn’t impressive enough, Richard’s Lion Lights includes a solar panel that recharges the battery during the day so it’s green too and he accomplished all of this without any electrical training of any kind. He simply tinkered around with it until he made it work.
Since Richard installed the system around the cattle pen, there hasn’t been a single lion attack, his herd sleep easy at night now!
Richard’s ingenious invention caught the attention of some local conservationists who felt that Lion Lights system could be used to help save Kenya’s dwindling lion population. They hope to convince livestock owners to protect their animals with a system like Richard’s rather than killing the lions to protect their herds.
As a reward for his hard work the conservationists arranged for Richard to get a scholarship at the prestigious Brookhouse International School so he can study and continue to improve his skills and he was recently invited to be a guest speaker at the TED 2013 Conference in California next week!