The killing of a marbled eel, nicknamed "king of the fish", in the Lingwan Lake of Nanning, southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, has sparked anger among local divers.
The dead eel was pictured on the local news portal ngzb.com, dangling from a metal rod held by a local fisherman.
The man in the photo has denied killing the eel, claiming others had killed it earlier, and that he only posed with the eel as he was curious about it.
The eel was first spotted at the Lingwan Lake diving resort about seven years ago, and the divers there say they always felt lucky when they spotted it.
The marbled eel, which can grow more than 60cm long, is a second-class national-level protected animal in China.
A large number of angry netizens said the poacher who killed the 'King of the fish' must face legal sanctions. Nanning forest police and fishery administration say they are examining the reports, and that an investigation is underway.