KANYANA Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre founder June Butcher always answers the same way when asked if she has a favourite animal.
After 40 years of caring for the sick, injured and orphaned, it is whichever is in her care at the time.
“Your favourite animal is the one that you’re looking after right at that moment,” Mrs Butcher said.
“I could have 20 different species there on one shift and they’re all amazing; the birds, the mammals and the reptiles.”
Recently stepping down as chair of the organisation she said she would remain on its board and looking after the animals.
Helen Riley, who has been a volunteer at the centre for 23 years, was appointed to the role in December.
“I’m stepping down from the chair role and handing over gradually,” Mrs Butcher said.
“I feel I have to do this and I want to get it done and get it done properly. It’s time for a change.
“I think (Helen) realises its going to be a challenge but she’s very willing to take it up and run with it.”
It all began for Mrs Butcher when people started bringing animals to the Gooseberry Hill child health nurse in need of help.
“In those days nobody had the money to pay a vet,” she said.
“We’re talking 40 years ago when people didn’t value wildlife like we hopefully are doing it now.
“I started by myself just one person and now we have over 300 volunteers.
“I started with 70 animals the first year that we opened the hospital in 1986 and I thought ‘oh my goodness I don’t know how I’m going to cope’ and now we’ve got over 3000 that come in every year.”
She said as well as the metropolitan area, they also collected animals from around WA.
“We get them from all over WA, especially while the mining boom was on we’d have to pick up animals from the airport three times a week,” she said.
“Things have really grown. It’s very rewarding actually, I feel so proud when I walk in to the place and see six different things going on at once.”