TED Talk of the Week: The Boy Who Made Peace with the Lions

13-year-old Richard Turere’s simple yet brilliant invention keeps livestock and lions safe in Kenya.

Aug 10, 2015

Lions have been in the public eye more than ever in recent week, with the senseless death of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe spreading awareness for the need to protect the world's endangered species. 

For 13-year-old Richard Turere from Kenya, however, lions have traditionally been a source of fear; the giant cats preyed on his community's livestock. Turere's Masai family lives close by to the Nairobi National Park, where wild animals roam free. As Turere explains in this TED Talk of the Week, the Masai value cows and rely on them for their livelihood. To the Masai, lions are predators that intrude on their living areas, killing their precious livestock. A wall of antagonism has developed between the Masai people and the local lions, with Masai warriors known to hunt and kill the lions to prevent more of their livestock from being destroyed. 

At the age of six, Turere was responsible for his family’s cows, herding them and keeping them safe. Turere started to dream up ways to keep the lions away, and came up with an invention that keeps both the livestock and the lions safe. When he realized that lions will steer clear of the cowshed if they see moving light, he invented a homemade device powered by a solar panel that flashes lights to keep predators at bay. His invention was a real success, with other neighbors clamoring for him to install the flashing lights on their sheds. 

This simple yet brilliant talk highlights a young bright mind who came up with a creative and inventive solution to make peace between the Masai and the local lion population – keeping livestock, lions and people safe from harm.


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