The European Patent Office (EPO) announced that Richard Turere a young Maasai inventor has emerged as the winner of the Young Inventor Prize at the European Inventor Award 2023. Turere was acknowledged for his groundbreaking invention that utilized light sequences to ward off lions and other predators from attacking livestock. This invention not only safeguarded the community but also played a significant role in safeguarding endangered lions.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the lion population is estimated to have declined by 43% in the past two decades. This has raised concerns about the conservation of the lions. To protect the livestock from being preyed on, the Maasai community had no option but to kill the lions significantly impacting the lion population. Turere’s invention provides an effective solution to this problem ensuring the safety of both prey and predator.
The Young Inventors Prize, established by the European Patent Office seeks to inspire the next generation of inventors, primarily aged 30 or under who have developed technological solutions to tackle global problems that are compatible with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Turere’s Lion Lights Invention was recognized for being in line with the UN SDG 15 which stipulates: Life on Land, which included protecting, restoring, and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems.
“Today, my team and I might seem too young for people to take us seriously. But we are going to compel them to believe in us through our achievements and recognition like the Young Inventors Prize is part of that journey,” Turere said reflecting on his achievements.
The concept behind Turere’s cutting-edge technology, is visually replicating the human presence that discourages the lions from livestock hunting by using changing sequences of flashing lights mounted on fences. Uttering words of encouragement, he said that I want , “I want this story to inspire the young kids that they too can do something. Anyone can make it. Anyone can change this world.”
The success of the technology quickly gained attention, leading to its adoption in over 2,000 homes across Kenya. The system, which primarily operates on solar energy but can be supplemented with wind power when needed, has also been implemented in several other countries, including Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, Argentina, and India, successfully deterring various species such as hyenas, leopards, and cheetahs.
The Winners of the Young Inventors Prize were announced at the European Inventor Award 2023 hybrid ceremony in Valencia, Spain. You can stream the ceremony if interested to witness the remarkable achievements of young brilliant minds.