A photo of two men "surfing" on the back of a turtle on the beach at Fraser Island has sparked outrage on social media and could cost the tasteless culprits $20,000.
Originally posted on Facebook by Gold Coast man Ricky Rogers, the photo has been shared more than 4000 times in an attempt to draw attention to the cruel act.
"Surfed a tortoise on zee weekend.. gnarly duddddeeee [sic]," the caption to the photo read.
Gold Coast man Ricky Rogers uploaded the photo to his social media pages. Photo: Facebook
A Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services spokesperson told AAP that rangers had begun investigations, acknowledging the turtle appears to be dead.
"QPWS are taking this matter seriously and investigating further," the spokesperson said.
The maximum fine is $19,995.
After receiving widespread backlash online, Mr Rogers removed the photo and put both his Facebook and Instagram pages on private.
The turtle was photographed with his head slumped in the sand, with the letters 'RIP' written next to him. Photo: Supplied
But it was too late - screenshots of the post have since gone viral around the country with many labelling the act "disgusting" and the men "idiots".
"Dead or not it's still wrong and inhuman (sic), like do we think it's acceptable to stand on the back of a dead human being? No. So it's not alright to stand on the back of a dead animal," one person wrote.
A second photo of the turtle showed the animal's head slumped to the ground, with the letters 'RIP' written in the sand next to it.