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Mazithe was named after the Mazithe Dam, 8km NW of Tsokwane where he was recorded for the first time. He was recognised by a distinctive left floppy ear. Mazithe was only every seen between 1991 and 1995 by a handful of guests who submitted their photo’s to Skukuza. He was elusive, but his distinctive floppy left ear made him easily recognisable.
An African elephant’s impressive ears are not just used for hearing. They help regulate the animal’s body temperature and may also be spread out wide in threat displays. Elephants have excellent hearing and are thought to be able to communicate with other individuals several kilometres away. They can hear very low frequency sounds (their hearing range is 1-20,000Hz) which are not audible to humans (who have a hearing range of 20-20,000Hz).
The distinctive tears and nicks in elephants’ ears are used by scientists to help identify individual animals in the wild.
Photo copyright and text: South African National Parks