The elk known by "Buttons" lives off state Route 10. She acts like a horse and often wanders over to Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest to watch the chimps. 

If you’ve ever taken the scenic drive along state Route 10 from Ellensburg to Cle Elum, you might have noticed an elk wandering around some of the properties.

The elk, known to most as “Buttons,” was orphaned when she was little and has taken residence on a hillside in the area.

Chane Roghair, who lives off U.S. Highway 10 said Buttons is like a neighborhood mascot and she roams the entire hill along the highway.

“She’s actually really friendly,” he said. “I think everybody in the county knows her.”

Elk have wandered through the area, but Buttons never joins up with them and Roghair hasn’t seen her interact with them.

“She showed up here when she was little and adopted the goats and horses as her family, and she just stayed around,” he said.

These days, she spends some of her time up on the hill near Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest, home of the Cle Elum Seven chimpanzees.

People at the sanctuary call her “Ellie” and she occasionally makes appearances during group visits. She walked through the crowd in the barn on July 25, and nuzzled up to people for attention.

“The chimps are like her pets,” said J.B. Mulcahy, co-director of the sanctuary, to a group visiting the sanctuary on July 25. “She sits and watches.”

He said the staff and volunteers enjoy having her around though she sometimes causes trouble.

“We love having her around,” he said. “She tries to come in the house. She ripped off the screen of our house.”

Roghair said Buttons hasn’t caused any issues to his property other than eating the flowers once in a while.

In the winter she likes to eat hay, and moves down to Roghair’s property to do so.

“I feed her hay all winter if she’s around,” he said.


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