Slapping the ears loudly and sharply against the neck and shoulders. In a Movement Space and Leadership and Avoidance context this gestures is typically made by an older female, often the matriarch, who appears to use it to call attention to her location and (changing) activity or movement. In Aggressive, Coalition Building or Attacking & Mobbing contexts, it is used in association with Ear-Folding as an elephant Advances-Toward its adversary.

References: Poole & Granli 2003; Poole & Granli 2011. (Full reference list)

This behavior occurs in the following context(s): Advertisement & Attraction, Aggressive, Avoidance, Coalition Building, Movement, Space & Leadership


Context: Movement Space & Leadership (1)

Filmed in slo-mo. As the C family begins to move, Nomada, gf0003, picks up the pace. Adult female, gf0004, was still feeding but as Nomada approaches her she begins to walk with a demonstrative Ear-Slap to signal her and their movement. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Movement Space & Leadership (2)

Viajante is walking away and then gives a powerful Ear-Slap. He may be in musth. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Movement Space & Leadership (3)

In this clip (in slo-mo) gf0028 (tuskless on the left) moves toward other members of her family with her 5.5 year old male calf in tow. She joins tusklesses gf0030 and gf0029 as another, slightly larger, male approaches. As he Advance-Toward gf0029 she Ear-Slaps and Orients-Away as she Head-Shakes.

After the end of the clip: They continue to move away; gf0004, a larger tuskless, appears in frame and likely initiated this movement. (Gorongosa, Mozambique)


Context: Movement Space & Leadership (4)

Big Mama is walking with her calf by her side when she appears to hear something and stops Listening and gives a prominent Ear-Slap. Then she stands Listening again. Six seconds later she raises her head as if she has heard a distant call.

We believe that she may have given a Contact-Call in association with the Ear-Slap and that when she raised her head she was hearing an answer. Note that her calf is Listening, too. Unfortunately there is no audio with this clip. (Maasai Mara, Kenya)