Founder shares nam­ing hon­our

Kalamunda Reporter - - Front Page - Lau­ren Pi­lat

FOR some peo­ple, shar­ing a name with a par­a­site is hardly af­firm­ing, but for June Butcher, hav­ing one named af­ter her is a “great hon­our”.

The Kanyana Wildlife Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre founder re­cently be­came the name­sake of a new coc­cidia par­a­site dis­cov­ered in sil­ver­eye birds that were brought to the Les­mur­die fa­cil­ity.

Known as the isospora butcherae, the mi­cro­scopic or­gan­ism was dis­cov­ered by Kanyana’s mi­croscopy co-or­di­na­tor Lindy Brice, who has been in­volved in a study with Mur­doch Univer­sity sci­en­tists since 2012.

As the re­search paper was be­ing com­piled, Mrs Butcher stepped down as chair­woman of Kanyana, so it be­came fit­ting to name the par­a­site af­ter her.

The 82-year-old Kala­munda res­i­dent said she was “thrilled” and it was a “great hon­our” be­cause a par­a­site was just as much wildlife as any other species.

“Peo­ple in­volved in wildlife don’t have the lux­ury of choos­ing which wildlife to care about and which to ig­nore,” she said.

“All wildlife is spe­cial, in­clud­ing par­a­sitic bac­te­ria. In­deed, our mi­cro­scopic wildlife makes it pos­si­ble for all other plant and an­i­mal life to ex­ist.”

Mrs Butcher, who grew up in Pak­istan car­ing for mon­gooses, myr­nas and song­birds, said there were sev­eral types of coc­cidia par­a­sites that com­monly in­fected a va­ri­ety of an­i­mals but few caused dis­ease.

“To date the col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Mur­doch sci­en­tists and Kanyana’s Lindy Brice has re­sulted in 13 new coc­cid­ian species be­ing de­scribed from rep­tiles and birds. Its im­por­tance lies in the deep­en­ing of our un­der­stand­ing of the in­ter­play be­tween micro­organ­isms and larger an­i­mals,” she said.

Pic­ture: David Baylis d482517

Kanyana Wildlife Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre founder June Butcher and mi­croscopy co-or­di­na­tor Lindy Brice.

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