There is more to lions than meets the eye. Given what does, this is surprising. Formidably strong, prone to violent mayhem on an expansive scale, the lion is surely equipped to look after itself. Tragically, that is not the case. Hemmed in by mankind, the African lion is in trouble, on the same fatal trajectory as the Indian tiger. In the 1940s the number of African lions was estimated at 450,000. Now it seems likely that fewer than 20,000 remain in the wild.