By Kevin Bissett
The New Brunswick government is coming under increasing pressure to conduct a review of provincial exotic wildlife regulations, almost four months after two boys were killed by a species of python that is banned in the province.
Premier David Alward has said his government will launch a review once the RCMP complete their investigation into the Aug. 5 deaths of four-year-old Noah Barthe and his six-year-old brother Connor. The two boys were asphyxiated by a 45-kilogram African rock python that escaped its enclosure in an apartment above a pet store in Campbellton, N.B.
But the executive director of Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquariums said there is nothing preventing the government from proceeding with a review to improve public policy without interfering with the police investigation.
"Let the RCMP do its work, but at the same time the New Brunswick government should be looking to see if its system needs a bit of a facelift," Massimo Bergamini said Wednesday.
"Our contention is that in New Brunswick and many other jurisdictions, it does."
Bergamini said many municipalities in Canada are left to deal with exotic animals through their bylaws, an issue he said needs to be resolved.
"Government needs to look at regulations, look at enforcement, look at the kinds of resources that need to be put in place to ensure that we have a safe system for visitors, for staff and for animals as well," he said.
Last month, the Atlantic Mayors' Congress called on the four provincial governments in their region to look at the issue and develop a regional approach to regulations.
New Brunswick's Opposition Liberals are also urging the Progressive Conservative government to review provisions of the province's Fish and Wildlife Act and other legislation relevant to exotic animals. The party's motion calling for a review is scheduled for debate Thursday. More....