As few as 3,000 powerful male lions with their glorious flowing manes and bellowing roars are left on their wild African domains and their numbers look destined to continue crashing because of the popularity of big game hunting.
Conflict with livestock farmers and disease has already taken a heavy toll of the big cat, sending its numbers plummeting by 90 per cent since the early Sixties...
...in what may sound the animal’s death knell, its bones are now in demand from the traditional Asian medicine trade.
With tigers already teetering on the edge of extinction and heavily protected under international laws, legally obtained lion bones are becoming an alternative to be crushed into all manner of lotions and potions.
Such are the fears for the fate of the majestic big cat that the British Government has this week provided vital funding for a “Lion Summit” in Africa.