'Hideous and disrespectful': Conservationists condemn picture of fisherman 'climbing inside shark corpse for prank photo'

The shocking image shows an unnamed fisherman who killed and gutted the shark, before climbing inside and forcing his arms through the creature's gills

Conservationists have condemned a 'hideous and disgusting' viral picture which appears to show a man who killed a shark climbing inside its gutted dead body.

The shocking image shows an unnamed fisherman who killed and gutted the shark, before climbing inside and forcing his arms through the creature's gills.

The fisherman's left hand is holding a knife which he has plunged between the poor shark's eyes.

The picture is said to have decorated the wall of an Australian pub for two years, but has appeared worldwide after being spotted by a radio station Down Under this week.

Today, conservationists branded the picture 'awful and disrespectful'.

TV presenter and naturalist Nick Baker told Yahoo! News: 'It's hideous. It's awful not just in the sense of crawling inside a dead animal, but it's also very disrespectful.

'Some sharks are rarer than the giant panda, and if someone did that to another animal it would be called disgusting.

'It looks like a tiger shark, which are very rare in the first place - but doing something like this cheapens everything conservationists are trying to do.

'It's utterly disgusting, but that's what the world of conversation is up against.'

Australian radio claimed the shark was a Great White, but experts believe it is more likely to have been a tiger shark.

Melbourne 3AW radio host John Burns told listeners on his show: 'This fellow has decided as a jape to climb inside the shark with a knife, put his hand through the gills of the shark and pretended to stab it between the eyes.'

Nick Baker added: 'I've got a sense of humor like anyone else, but I just can't see the point of this.'