Photo by @beverlyjoubert / So much maternal care and dedication is lavished on a young cub to maximize its chances of survival in the often brutal world of lions on the savanna. Even before cubs enter this world, in fact, protective mechanisms are already at work. A special hammock-like structure inside their mother’s womb cushions the developing young as she goes about the risky business of hunting prey, whose defensive kicks and blows would otherwise easily kill the babies in her belly. Once the cubs are born, fending off threats posed by hunger, marauding males, rival predators and more is a truly demanding job. Despite a mother’s best efforts, the odds of survival to adulthood are extremely precarious—for males, only about 1 in 8 make it through. Of course, many of the dangers young cubs face as they grow are quite natural. It is the ever growing threats posed by humans that we must urgently control if we want to see these amazing predators endure in the wild.