Maasai entrepreneur named as a finalist for the Young Inventors Prize by the European Patent Office


MUNICH, June 23, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The lion population in Africa has declined by roughly 43% in 20 years, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). Many lions are killed to stop them from eating livestock, a crucial concern for the Kenyan Maasai. Richard Turere developed a system to ward off lions from livestock using light sequences.

Turere has been named as one of three finalists for the second edition of the Young Inventors Prize, which recognises innovators aged 30 or under who have developed technological solutions to help reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Turere’s invention contributes to UN SDG 15: Life on Land.

Many animals of the Nairobi National Park seek shelter in communal lands to escape predators, leading lions to these human-inhabited areas. Turere’s invention, known as Lion Lights™, replicates the human presence that keeps lions away.

Now, over 2 000 homes in Kenya use Lion Lights. As Turere explains, “our motto at Lion Lights is that there is no existence without co-existence … we’ll have to find a way of living peacefully with each other, humans and wildlife.”

Lion Lights has been implemented in several other countries, where it has helped deter various species of animals, such as hyenas and cheetahs.

The Maasai inventor believes that others can learn from his journey. “I want this story to inspire the young kids that they too can do something. If I did it coming from this community with no education, and with no resources whatsoever … then anyone can make it. Anyone can change this world.” In 2013, Turere founded an organisation, working with more than 50 people in his village.

Turere’s invention caught the eye of Wildlife-Direct, a charitable organisation led by Dr. Paula Kahumbu, who helped him win a scholarship to Brookhouse School in Nairobi. Turere has become a speaker, sharing his inspiring story in TED Talks and at events such as Ciudad de las Ideas. He highlights that “the human-wildlife conflict is still a significant challenge … as many communities still cannot afford Lion Lights. We need more hands on deck … to build the future we want.”

The Young Inventors Prize winner will be announced at the European Inventor Award 2023 hybrid ceremony on 4 July 2023 in Valencia (Spain). This ceremony will be broadcast online here.

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