Lions are among the most majestic and awe-inspiring animals in the world. With their spectacular mane, it appears that they have a crown on their heads. Their large, muscular bodies command respect and even fear. It is no wonder they have been described so frequently as the "King of Beasts". To see a lion on the plain in Africa, in its own environment is a thrilling experience that could never be forgotten. These tourists were given a rare close up view of a big male slurping water from a depression in the ground at the edge of a watering hole in Kenya, Africa. This is an area where many animals come to drink and the mud that surrounds it has been trampled and pitted. This thirsty lion has casually walked in and claimed a spot at the edge to drink. Not surprisingly, the other animals have retreated, giving the lion plenty of space. This is a protected area of Kenya where animals cannot be hunted. They live wild and free, enjoying the added protection here. Guests who were being escorted through this area in a jeep were excited to be able to witness this beautiful moment. From the safety of their vehicle, they were able to capture this on video. Interestingly, lions slurp water in the same manner as smaller cats, and even dogs. Their tongue curls inward, not outward, and the water is brought into the mouth as they lap quickly and repeatedly at the surface of the water. It might be expected that the tongue would curl in the opposite direction but this is not the case. According to the Kenyan government, the lion population in the country is now estimated at 2,489. This is an increase or nearly 25% since estimates of the year 2010. This has been accomplished through habitat protection, conservation laws, and the promotion of co-existence of humans and lions in a peaceful manner. While lions were deemed to be on the brink of extinction, this new information is cause for cautious optimism.