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Boy scares off lions with flashy invention

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Posted in Science on 26th Feb, 2013 10:22 PM by AlexMuller

Richard Turere, 13, doesn't like lions. In fact, he hates them. Yet this bright Maasai boy has devised an innovative solution that's helping the survival of these magnificent beasts -- by keeping them away from humans.


Living on the edge of Nairobi National Park, in Kenya, Turere first became responsible for herding and safeguarding his family's cattle when he was just nine. But often, his valuable livestock would be raided by the lions roaming the park's sweet savannah grasses, leaving him to count the losses.


"I grew up hating lions very much," says Turere, who is from Kitengela, just south of the capital Nairobi. "They used to come at night and feed on our cattle when we were sleeping."


So, at the age of 11, Turere decided it was time to find a way of protecting his family's cows, goats and sheep from falling prey to hungry lions.

 

So, at the age of 11, Turere decided it was time to find a way of protecting his family's cows, goats and sheep from falling prey to hungry lions.
His light bulb moment came with one small observation.


"One day, when I was walking around," he says, "I discovered that the lions were scared of the moving light."


Turere realized that lions were afraid of venturing near the farm's stockade when someone was walking around with a flashlight. He put his young mind to work and a few weeks later he'd come up with an innovative, simple and low-cost system to scare the predators away.


He fitted a series of flashing LED bulbs onto poles around the livestock enclosure, facing outward. The lights were wired to a box with switches and to an old car battery powered by a solar panel. They were designed to flicker on and off intermittently, thus tricking the lions into believing that someone was moving around carrying a flashlight.


And it worked. Since Turere rigged up his "Lion Lights," his family has not lost any livestock to the wild beasts, to the great delight of his father and astonishment of his neighbors.



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