Richard Turere: The 11 Year Maasai Boy Who Invented Light That Scares Lions

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Richard Turere: The 11 Year Maasai Boy Who Invented Light That Scares Lions
Photocredit/Ted

The story of one Richard Turere cannot go untold. Born and raised in Maasai, he got fed up with his father losing his cattle due to lion attacks at night. And so he decided to try and find a solution that would end the human-wildlife conflict hence the birth of Lion Lights System. The invention saw him receive a scholarship at Brookhouse International School, rub shoulders with billionaires such as Jack Ma and travel to California to give a TED speech when he was only 13 years old.

Here is his story as told by WoK.

Richard Turere Journey

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Richard Turere was born in a humble Maasai family based in the Savannah grasslands of Kajiado County, just 5 kilometers from Kitengela town. Their homestead is situated in the southern part of the Nairobi National Park which is not fenced and so wild animals such as Zebras occasionally walk out of the park. Just as the law of the nature is, as the wild animals migrate outside the park and so do the predators such as Lions, Hyenas and Leopards. Unfortunately when the predators cross out of the park at night, they come across the Maasai livestock killing them and causing destructions. The Maasai morans would then wake up in the morning to find their precious livestock dead prompting them to attack and kill the lions in retaliation.

This made the made 11 year old Richard upset and it got him thinking of how he was going to solve the problem between human and wildlife. He began experimenting by lighting fire around the cowshed thinking that the lions would be afraid of fire but this never worked. He used scarecrows to scare the lions away but this only worked for a few days and again failed. One night he decided to stay awake through the night with a torch to safeguard his father’s cattle and this seemed to scare the lions. He realized that the lions are afraid of a moving light and so the idea of Lion Lights was birthed.

Richard Turere: The 11 Year Maasai Boy Who Invented Light That Scares Lions
Photocredit/BBC

Establishing Lion Lights

Now in his early 20s, Richard took their old car battery and a motorcycle indicator light which he used to create the first lion lights in their homestead. The lights worked really well which prompted the neighbors to ask him to install the lights in their homesteads. As of 2018, the Lion Lights system was in 750 homesteads in his community and beyond.

Success

The Invention led him to get a scholarship in 2013 at Brookhouse International School, one of the prestigious schools in Kenya. He travelled to California, United States of America (USA) to give a TED talk while aged 13 years old. In 2020 he became a National Geographic (NATGEO) explorer which enabled him to get money which he used to fine tune the Lion Lights into a quality product. While speaking during an exclusive interview with Miss Trudy that aired on YouTube, Richard revealed that the Lion Lights invention has changed his life and enabled him to rub shoulders with billionaires.

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“I have been all over the world. I have been to places such as Brazil, Mexico, Hong Kong, California, Johannesburg. I have interacted with people such as Jack Ma and I can say that Lion Lights has really changed my life and given me a rare opportunity to network,” he explained.

Currently, the Lion Lights retail for Ksh 10,000 per homestead which involves 5 to 10 lights. The lights are waterproof, come with a solar panel and able to last for up to three years. He has also written a book highlighting his journey of inventing lion lights which is launching on August 2nd 2022. The book titled ‘Lion Lights- the invention that made peace with lions’ is available exclusively on Amazon.

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