Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Save the cows, save the lions...

People who know me probably have heard me talk about my oldest son, who is a wildlife biologist. Tor's passion is big cat conservation - and his experience and research in that field has led him to understand that often, it is possible to succeed against what seem like nearly impossible odds. I'll write more about topics like the project to save tigers in Asia, or jaguars in South America. But today, I want to share the vision of a very special young man in Africa. Richard Turere was a little boy - less than 9 years old - when he was tasked with keeping his father's cattle herd safe. Lions often kill cows in Kenya, and so the Masai people hunt and kill them. Richard knew it was important to keep his cows safe. He also knew that killing lions meant an ever-dwindling lion population. He felt sad for the dead cattle, and for the dead lions - so he decided to do something about it. Using little more than native curiosity and a knowledge of electronics that came from dismantling his mother's radio (which got him in trouble with her), Richard created a system of moving lights that keeps lions away from his father's cowshed - a system that is now being used all around Kenya. The invention keeps lions - and, apparently, elephants - away from local livestock, which means that fewer cows, and subsequently fewer lions, are killed.

It doesn't take a fat bank account to see a problem and seek a solution. It takes an inquisitive mind, a willingness to be wrong, and perseverance. Take a few minutes out of your day to enjoy Richard Turere's story in his own words. If he can change the world, why not you? :)

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