Elephants are affectionately referred to as gentle giants. But like all animals (including humans), they will get aggressive when they feel threatened. But studies have shown that in most cases, this aggressiveness is only used to intimidate any predators from approaching nearer and very rarely do elephants get into an aggressive charge recklessly. Elephants employ what is known as a mock charge. When employing this technique the elephant’s ears are fanned out and the trunk is usually lowered as opposed to an actual charge (with the intention to strike) where an elephant’s ears are pinned to the back and the trunk is raised.
Elephants are supremely intelligent species and for anyone who is interested to learn more about them, I would suggest you pick up a copy of the book ‘The Elephant Whisperer’ by Lawrence Anthony. Just read the late author’s biography on Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Anthony) and you’ll find a little line that speaks about the character of these beautiful animals.