Making Peace with Lions Richard Turere is a Wildlife Hero.

by Joanne McGonagle

Richard Turere’s “Lion Lights” Save Lives

Richard Turere is a young Maasai boy of 13, whose family lives  on the edge of Nairobi National Park, in Kenya. As is common among the

Richard Turere

Richard Turere
photo from TED.com

Maasai, Richard took over the responsibility for herding and safeguarding his family’s livestock when he was only 9 years old.  One of the threats to his family’s cattle, sheep and goats is the presence of African lions when they wander out of Nairobi National Park following the path of zebra and other prey animals searching for savannah grasses.

Richard grew up hating lions because at night, lions would sneak in and kill the family’s livestock while the boy was sleeping.  Determined to protect the families valuable livestock, Richard knew he had to think of a way to help him protect his animals from lion attacks.

Richard first built a fire, but realized even though the lions are afraid of fire, they were not afraid to go around the fire and snatch up a meal and in fact their path was made easier by the light of the fire.  Richard then tried to place a scarecrow to fool the lions into thinking that he was guarding his cattle, but this only worked for one night. Richard said, the lions are very clever, so when they returned the second night, they must have realized this scarecrow is not moving and so were no longer intimidated.

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