Lions are hunted for fun in South Africa! It might be too late for lions... But we might still be able to help! The number in the wild has dropped by as much as half in 20 years. Today there are an estimated 16,500 to 47,000 African lions, down from 400,000 in 1950. Their population has been carved up into ever-tightening, isolated ranges. Humans are spreading into these small pockets of space, and instability on the continent isn't conducive to conservation.