Over at Bug Safari, Cindy writes that she found a giant swallowtail with a damaged wing that couldn't fly and that she repaired it with a "spare" butterfly wing she had. Apparently, the operation went well and the butterfly regained the ability to fly. Amazing!
Despite Cindy's good intentions, I have mixed feelings about interfering with natural processes. I don't object to rescuing birds and other animals from oil spills or treating animals injured by other types of human activities, but we have to draw the line somewhere. Injury and death caused by natural events are natural processes.
Should we be treating every animal that escaped with injuries from the jaws of a predator or a wind storm or a flood? We neither have a responsibility nor a right to do so. Natural selection doesn't need us to interfere with its affairs.
Sometimes we need to step aside, move away and just be impartial observers.
Sentimentality does not exist in nature.Incidentally, I am surprised that Cindy's butterfly couldn't fly when she first found it, because, as far as I can tell from the picture, its damaged wing didn't look too bad. I have seen butterflies with more damaged wings that could still fly. Here is an example of a butterfly with severely damaged wings and here is an example of a butterfly with a minor damage to one wing.
Karl von Frisch, The dancing bees, 1953