This summer, we tried something new at CSNW – we invited small groups of supporters to the sanctuary to see in person how their contributions have improved the lives of the Cle Elum Seven. Guests were treated to a light lunch in the barn as they learned more about the chimpanzees and the history of the organization. Then they received an orientation on safety and etiquette, so that they could be considerate guests when they were near the chimpanzees’ home. Finally, they got to observe from a distance while the chimps enjoyed a forage on Young’s Hill.
Yesterday was the last day of visits, and we were treated to a surprise guest – a wild elk:
She quickly grew bored with my presentation and skipped straight to lunch:
But she was extremely attentive during Diana’s lecture on safety and etiquette:
With that out of the way, the group proceeded to the observation area:
And we quietly observed the chimps eating their lunch on Young’s Hill:
All guests – elk included – learn that if the chimps grow upset with anyone’s presence, the visit will be cut short. The chimps’ well being is always the top priority. The chimps normally ignore visitors and go about their business, but Jamie draws the line at elk:
We, too, had to draw the line when she asked to come in the house. Sorry, elk:
As it turns out, this elk was separated from her family some time ago, and she has been living in the neighbor’s pasture, eating grass and hay with the horses and cattle and doing great under the circumstances. She’s still a wild animal and she’s free to come and go as she pleases, but without a family, she’s chosen to stay where the food is. Yesterday, she decided to stretch her legs and check out the neighborhood. At the end of the day, she headed back to her pasture, but I’m sure she’ll be back. She obviously likes to watch the chimps. Will Jamie ever accept her presence? I guess we’ll find out.