Skip to comments.Kenya boy, 13, gains fame for protecting livestock from lions
Posted on 02/28/2013 5:09:08 AM PST by grundle
Richard Turere, 13, had reason to despise lions while growing up with his family on a ranch in Kenya: The beasts routinely killed their livestock, which he was largely responsible for. Rather than fret, however, the clever boy put his mind to work and devised an invention that not only deters lions, but does so without killing or injuring them.
(Lions, whose numbers have shrunk to an alarming level, are vital to the ecosystem and valuable as a tourist attraction in nearby Nairobi National Park. The park boasts the world's largest concentration of lions, which often perceive livestock on nearby ranches as easy pickings.)
The invention, one what has proved remarkably successful after a series of other experiments had failed, stemmed from Turere's discovery, when he was 11, that lions became skittish at night when people walked around with flashlights.
"I discovered that the lions were scared of the moving light," he told CNN.
He gathered dozens of LED lights and rigged them to a battery and solar panel that powered the family television. He devised a way to make the lights flash and placed the bulbs on poles surrounding the livestock enclosure.
The nighttime livestock raids ended, and Turere's "Lion Lights" system is now widely used in the region, helping ranchers deal with the predators in a manner that no longer has to involve shooting them.
"I did it myself, no one taught me, I just came up with it," Turere said. "I had to look after my dad's cows and make sure that they were safe."
Because of his ingenuity, and his adeptness at engineering without training and with limited resources, Turere was invited to Southern California for this week's 2013 TED Conference, where he has shared a platform with other top innovators. He also received a scholarship to Brookhouse International School in Nairobi, where he now studies.
Turere shared two of his previous lion-deterring ideas at the conference. One involved fire but that backfired, he said, because "it was helping the lions see through the cowshed."
Another was a scarecrow. "I was trying to trick the lions. But lions are clever," he said, explaining that on the first day the lions saw the scarecrow and fled, but on the second they realized the scarecrow wasn't moving and killed several cows.
Of being invited to the TED Conference, according to an event blog post, Turere told the crowd: "A year ago I was a boy in a savannah grassland. I saw planes fly over and I said I'd be inside one day. I had a chance to come by plane for the first time for TED. My dream is to become an aircraft engineer and pilot when I grow up."
To be sure, for this bright kid, the sky seems to be the limit.
He’s shooting way too low. He could be president some day. He’s much more qualified than the current kenyan in the white house
God Bless him!!
I guess that is why there are no lions around during Christmas?
We used to have that type of spirit of innovation here. It is rare now. Glad to see it is blooming elsewhere.
Of course it is. Can you imagine how many environmental impact studies and legal checks against the Endangered Species List--not to mention EPA oversight--would have to be done before this system could be implemented in the "Land of the Free"?
...if Odungo had a son he’d be........hey wait a minute
A problem solver in a world with plenty of them...may he live long and prosper.
He looks unusual, with pants that fit, and are pulled all the way up.
Under enviro-communism, the Department of the Inferior’s National Park System has made it illegal to view wildlife after dark with an artificial light.
The boy from Kenya would have been jailed by a uniformed member of the Armed & Rangerous long before he could have developed his idea.
“Animal Absurdity Uber Alles” - enviro-communism’s rallying cry.
Of course only the clever females are fooled by the light because the male lions are lazy and “almost” worthless.
I really hope he patents that light contraption idea.
The lions can learn. Eventually, the flashing lights will become common enough the lions no longer fear them. Then they won't be safe walking around with the flashlights either.
A rancher in Colorado used the same system to stop wolves from raiding his sheep herd at night. The EPA, Co Wildlife and Dept of the Interior at the urging of PETA stopped the practice, imprisoned and fined the rancher for violating endangered species acts and using cruel and inhuman devices to blind wolves during their hunt.
DO you have documentation for these claims? I’d like to use them as argments with libtards, but are you just doing sarcasm or is this a real case and can you provide documentation?
Smart kid. Good idea. Now if he can just learn how to tie his shoes properly.
I’ve had to design facilities with special “Dark Skies” lighting to reduce the impact on migration patterns of endangered species of birds before.
I believe his shoes are tied, or are designed to slip on without tying the laces. If you look closely, you can see velcro straps around the ankle, which are not hooked closed.
You see his problem? His hosts bought him nice new American clothes to wear for his speech. The jeans fit well, close to the leg, and they aren’t wide enough to go over the top of his hiking shoes. So he put the jeans-leg inside his shoes. Now the shoes don’t close tightly around his ankle. Ah, kids! But I’ve done this too and I’m not a kid.
He’s cute. He’s smart. He could go a long way. May he grow, learn, and then help the world.
That kid’s the kind of immigrant we should welcome.
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