Elephants at Ol Pejeta


Large ears and a powerful gaze from a bull elephant (Loxodonta africana) at the prime of his life. He was foraging closeby but separately from six other members of his herd— all females, subadults, and a baby. Because an elephant’s ears are most often held close to the body, it’s easy to forget just how huge they are. In an adult male bush elephant they can measure an astonishing six feet tall and four feet wide. Being extremely large-bodied animals, elephants need efficient ways to cool the body down in the intense heat of the African savanna. Their large round ears not only flap back and forth to cool the body by generating wind, but they also consist of a network of surface-lying blood vessels from which heat escapes. To lower their body temperature, elephants will also regularly wade in rivers and bathe in mud, using their muscular trunk to fling water across their bodies.

Photographed in situ [1]

A young elephant flaps its ears, seeming to copy the ear-fanning behavior of the bull elephant pictured above

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