CAMPBELLTON, N.B. - Environment Canada says that 11 years ago, it delivered the python that killed two children this week to the New Brunswick pet store at the centre of the tragedy.
This happened even though the species was banned in the province without a special permit.
Environment Canada spokesman Mark Johnson says the federal department was enlisted to help transport the snake to Reptile Ocean in Campbellton after it was abandoned at the SPCA in Moncton, N.B.
Johnson says department records indicate Reptile Ocean was operating as a zoo when the snake arrived at the facility in August 2002.
New Brunswick's Department of Natural Resources says only accredited zoos can apply for a permit to own a banned species, including the African rock python in question.
Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquariums says it is the only recognized national body to accredit zoos in the country and it has no record of Reptile Ocean ever applying for accreditation.
Anne Bull, a spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Department, won't say whether Reptile Ocean was issued a permit for the python.
But she has said the department was unaware the 45-kilogram snake even existed until four-year-old Noah Barthe and his six-year-old brother Connor were asphyxiated this week by the reptile.