Nairobi Nation Park, where Lions, Rhinos and other animals live freely against the urban backdrop of the city center. For the Pastoral Maasai tribes around the park living with carnivores such as Lions causes many problems as they prey on valuable lifestock. This leads to local communities taking matters into their own hands. There are cases where whole prides have been killed because of the threat they pose to farmer’s livelihood. Furadan is a pesticide that can kill a Lion with a single tablespoon at the cost of less than a pound. The increase of the human-wildlife conflict through urban expansion means that Kenya has a Lion population of less than 2,000. Officials have spent large sums trying to protect Lions and strengthen the tourism industry in Kenya, however conservationist’s say these initiatives don’t address and affect local people enough to be effective.
|Nairobi National Park|
A new safe, eco-friendly method to protect cattle has been devised by a bright, 13 year old, Maasai boy. Richard Turere hated Lions because as he was in charge of watching his family’s livestock, the nearby prides meant Richard would spend a local of time counting losses.
One small observation was the catalyst towards the development of his innovative solution to protect his livestock. He noticed at night when watching his cattle, Lions were afraid to come close when he was using his torch. “One day I discovered the Lions were afraid of moving light” A few weeks of work and Richard had designed a low cost system to scare away predators. He attached a series of flashing bulbs onto poles around the livestock fencing, where the bulbs were attached to an old car battery powered by solo energy. The lights would flicker on and off thus tricking the Lions into thinking someone was out there with a flashlight. Since the lights were put up the family haven’t lost a single member of their livestock. Many neighbors of Richard’s family have asked him to install lights for them too and there are now 75 Lion light systems in affect around Kenya. Because this method was invented by someone from the local community the support it has received is very good. Richard’s impressive idea hasn’t gone unnoticed and he has won a scholarship at Brookhouse International School, one of Kenya’s top institutions. This case is a brilliant example of the importance of an ethical approach towards the human-wildlife conflict.