in Bangor University Seminars


The African Lion (Pan­thera leo) is set to drop below 20,000 indi­vid­u­als in the wild, almost 90 times few­er than there was 200 years ago. There­fore, their con­ser­va­tion is key to their pop­u­la­tion recovery.

How­ev­er, Richard Turere, a young boy from Kenya, recent­ly dis­cov­ered the ‘light’ for reduc­ing this alarm­ing pop­u­la­tion decrease.
In a recent Ban­gor Uni­ver­si­ty Sem­i­nar, Dr Jack­ie Abell, direc­tor of research for a con­ser­va­tion com­pa­ny called ALERT, explained the cur­rent role of inven­tions in con­ser­va­tion for lions.

Why Are Lions Disappearing?

The main rea­son behind the reduc­tion in the lion pop­u­la­tions is, of course, due to human interaction.

As humans spread fur­ther across Africa, they spread fur­ther into ter­ri­to­r­i­al hunt­ing areas of lions. Cat­tle and live­stock become the prey of Lions which, inevitably, cause farm­ers to pro­tect this live­stock by killing the lions.

Killing one hunt­ing lion could have knock-on effects result­ing in the fur­ther death of cubs and small prides.

The Idea

Richard found that plac­ing flash­ing lights around the necks of live­stock would scare Lions away.  This trig­gered action by ALERT and Coven­try Uni­ver­si­ty to use this idea and cre­ate a prod­uct called Nite Guard. Which can be set up around farm­ing perime­ters and can scare off most preda­tors not just lions.

Other Ways Are Needed

Dr Abell stressed that although this inven­tion has mas­sive­ly improved con­ser­va­tion efforts oth­er steps must be taken.

She out­lines that edu­ca­tion is anoth­er impor­tant role in decreas­ing the attri­tion between humans and lions in Africa. Ensur­ing that farm­ers know how to safe­ly pre­vent lions con­sum­ing their cat­tle by using Nite Guard. As well, as inform­ing them on the impor­tance a lion has on their ecosys­tem is a vital key to ensur­ing the future con­ser­va­tion of the lion.

Future Research

An idea so sim­ple, yet so effec­tive, has proven to me that there must be future research into the mul­ti­tude of effects humans have had on endan­gered animals.

Whether this is on the phys­i­cal changes we impose or the behav­iour­al changes our actions and inven­tions have caused. It could pro­vide fur­ther help in under­stand­ing the effects we can have on ecosys­tems and thus show how we can help reverse the indi­rect dam­age we may have caused.