Lionlights is a non-profit organization founded in 2014 by conservationist, Entrepreneur, and Inventor Richard Turere. Lionlights’s mission is to promote a sustainable, peaceful human-wildlife coexistence by deploying an automated lighting system designed to deter large predators, such as lions, leopards, hyenas, and cheetahs, from killing livestock held in bomas.
Richard Turere was born in Kitengela, Kenya, just south of Nairobi National Park, which has the world’s largest density of lions. At the age of nine, Turere was responsible for looking after his family’s herd of cattle. The lions took down these valuable animals — the family’s source of meat and milk — too often.
At the age of nine, Turere was responsible for looking after his family’s herd of cattle. The lions took down these valuable animals — the family’s source of meat and milk — too often. By age 11, Turere decided to find a way to protect his family’s livestock, which also included goats and sheep, from falling prey to the roaming lions. At first, he tried building fires, but the lions learned to skirt around them and remain in the shadows – still able to hunt vulnerable animals.
Turere soon noticed that while the lions didn’t seem to fear the stationary fires, they were afraid of moving lights; they wouldn’t come near the stockade if someone walked around with a flashlight. After a few weeks of contemplation and experimentation, he devised an innovative, simple, and low-cost system to keep the predators at bay. With little to no access to technical information, Turere put together an automated lighting system using LED bulbs from broken flashlights and a car battery powered by a solar panel that also powers the family’s television. These “Lion Lights” are designed to flash intermittently, tricking lions into thinking someone is walking around with a flashlight.
This solution has been so successful that several families have asked for Lion Lights; over 2000 such systems have been rigged up around Kenya. Invention saves tourism, too. Tourism is key in helping support the national economy in Kenya, and thousands of tourists visit Nairobi National Park every year to see wildlife — especially lions. But these predators are detrimental to the Maasai tribes around the park, and the entire pride of lions has been killed in retaliation for attacks on livestock. In less than a decade, the lion population in Kenya has dropped from 15,000 to 2000. Lion Lights have provided a solution that benefits the tourist industry and park inhabitants.
This is a solution that was invented by somebody in the community, therefore, the support for it is very highPaula Kahumbu, CEO Wildlife-Direct