As experienced by JohnD, our head ranger at Molori Safari.
“Molori Safari and our guests are privileged to be part of continued conservation work within the greater Madikwe Game Reserve. Recently, I was fortunate enough to have been part of an Elephant Conservation activity. I was close enough to this magnificent creature to be able to touch, feel and closely inspect the incredible ears of an elephant, what I like to call, their natural radiator.
Elephants use their large ears for a number of things. When they spread them out wide, they make themselves look bigger than they are and they use this stance to warn other animals to stay away or to show off their size. They also use their flapping ears to cool themselves down. As the skin on their ears is very thin, and due to the fact that they are full of blood vessels, the air flowing over their ears is able to cool down the blood, thus cooling down the body and allowing elephants to maintain a comfortable body temperature.
It was amazing to feel how soft the ears of an elephant are, you would expect them to be quite rough in texture. They have very little pigmentation behind their ears which results in uneven skin tone which presents itself in the pretty patterns you see in the images. The huge veins and vessels that you see in one of the close-up images carries a lot of blood in them and feeling the blood coursing and pulsing through them was truly beyond my imagination. My mind was completely blown away by this experience as for the past 17 years of my guiding I have shared the fascinating story of the elephants and their ears but now I had a chance to see and experience this up closely.”