A croc mystery of epic proportions
IT IS the ultimate man vs. monster trophy photo.
The 4m-plus saltwater crocodile, apparently shot dead and strung up by the jaws, towers over an unidentified farm worker near Innisfail's South Johnstone River, in far north Queensland.
He holds a rear claw of the giant predator in a throwback to trophy-hunting days.
The young man appears to be dwarfed by the size and scale of the beast.
Environment officials last night launched an investigation to confirm if the crocodile was the latest to be illegally killed - or if it was one of four crocs known to have been shot or caught on baited steel hooks two weeks ago.
Federal MP Bob Katter, whose vast bush electorate covers Innisfail, is vocally behind culling the "explosion" in crocodile numbers.
"For us, it has come down to kill or be killed,'' he said.
There have been three fatal attacks in three years, and six deaths in Queensland since 2008.
The new image, posted on social media, came with the caption "pulled from the South Johnstone River".
It was shared more than 2000 times with 580 comments before it was deleted from Facebook last night.
It is believed to show workers disposing of a dead crocodile at a local dump site, near Wangan, where a 4m croc was found shot on April 29.
In March last year, rangers caught the 4m crocodile that mauled Innisfail teen Lee Dee Paauw in the heart of the sugar town on the Johnstone River.
One local crocodile-spotting tour guide told News Queensland about 35 large resident crocodiles had been counted in the last survey in the Johnstone River system.
But as many as five a year had since been shot by farmers or removed as problem crocodiles by rangers, the guide said.
Under Queensland law, it is illegal to deliberately interfere with, harm or kill crocodiles without prior authorisation, including attempting to bait.
The maximum penalty is $28,383.75.