Elephants cool themselves down by flapping their ears [you can see all the veins in the picture, s’thin like a giant leaf - flapping cools the blood].
It can also be a warning. Holding them out a little longer says “I’M BIG”. Yes buddy we can see that. He was protecting the rest of the herd further up the road and telling us not to continue.
So yeh, this was my first encounter with wild elephants and it was simply amazing. I was left with an overwhelming sense of wisdom and newfound love+respect for these giant wanderers..