Eversince this past Monday August 5 here in Canada, most Canadian provinces and territories were celebrating their respective civic holidays( as I had last discussed about it on my very last blog) when the unthinkable and horrible had happened.
On that fateful early Monday morning, breaking news came out of the small city of Campbellton,New Brunswick( population : 10,000,near the Quebec border and a 4 hour drive from my place)of 2 little boys apparently strangled in their sleep by an African rock python weighing about 100 lbs and approx. 3-4 meters in height. The boys’ names were Connor Barthe(age 6) and Noah Barthe(age 4).
Initial details as mentioned by the police were that the 2 boys were having a sleepover with the son of a reptile shop owner at the apartment which was located above the shop called Reptile Ocean. Accdg. to the owner, he woke up early that morning and was going to check on the 2 boys who were both on the other room and upon opening the light, saw in horror the 2 boys now dead with the python nearby.
Further police details reported that apparently the python was in a cage inside that upstairs apartment and not downstairs in the reptile shop. The latch apparently gave way and the python slithered out and went into the ventilation system located above the cage and due to its weight, had fallen through the ceiling into the vicinity where the 2 boys were sleeping.
An autopsy was performed on the 2 boys and preliminary results revealed asphyxiation by the python as cause of death. The python was put to death and a necropsy was performed. A full autopsy report on the 2 boys will be available sometime next month,together with the python. The python upon initial examination appeared healthy.
The police will continue their investigation now deemed as criminal and will decide on further charges depending on the full autopsy report yet to be released. Determining the actual events which led to the boys’ death is high priority.It’ll take a lot of detective work on that for ,considering so many inconsistencies found during the investigation.
For example, there were a lot of inconsistencies in terms of the python’s behavior accdg. to the reptile experts and it appears that the python in question is a banned species in New Brunswick province and that no permit was ever issued by the provincial dept. of natural resources nor was there any awareness on their part that the python was there in that shop in the first place.
The reptile shop now and still deemed at this time as a crime scene had been inspected and 27 banned reptilian species have been uncovered. Arrangements had been made to transfer them to various zoos and certified reptile shops all over Canada except for 4 crocodiles which had to be put to sleep since no accomodations can be found for them.
This entire episode is tragic ,horrible ,unthinkable yet preventable if precautions were made in terms of laws regarding possession and care of exotic animals. For sure,animal rights groups will have their say too but in the meantime, 2 boys’ lives are now gone and their parents’ anguish is something that was imposed on them and will stay on forever for as long as they live.
I had just watched today, the TV coverage of the funeral mass for the 2 boys both placed inside 1 coffin per parents’ request since both of them had lived and died together,therefore they get to be buried together as well.
For their sake, I hope their deaths had not been in vain and may actual reform in terms of the laws regarding exotic animals be implemented in light of this horrible event.
Exotic animals in my opinion should thrive in their natural habitat and not be in surroundings like a cage since it usurps the ecological balance of life. They act and react by natural animal instinct and we humans should always bear that in mind especially if they’re considering these animals as potential pets.
I just hope that the boys weren’t aware of what had actually happened to them that is, they died while asleep.
The ongoing onslaught of news coverage both local,national and international had besieged the city of Campbellton beyond the local residents’ imagination. Hopefully, their regular pace of life should return soon though I strongly believe that it’ll never be the same again for them after this python incident.
My heart goes out to the parents. If it’s any consolation for them, it’s to see how so many people empathizes their situation right now and giving their all-out moral support to help them through this.
2013 may be the year of the snake accdg to the Chinese lunar calendar but what a tragic irony that it had happened at this very moment in Campbellton,New Brunswick, Canada.
To Connor and Noah, may you both enjoy your new life in Heaven ! I’m pretty sure that both of your parents will be looking forward to seeing you all someday once their time in this world is over.