A mob in Indonesia armed with knives, hammers and clubs slaughtered nearly 300 crocodiles at a wildlife sanctuary after a man was killed by one of the reptiles.

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A saltwater crocodile enjoys a chicken thrown to him at a zoo.
Marijan Murat, AFP/Getty Images

Basar Manullang, the head of the local Natural Resources and Conservation Agency in West Papua, said Monday that 292 crocodiles, from babies to full-grown adults, were killed by dozens of villagers on Saturday following the funeral of a 48-year-old man who was attacked after entering an area around the creatures’ breeding pond.

Photographs taken after the incident showed a large pile of bloodied carcasses in the Sorong district, which is in the far east of Indonesia.

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Local residents stand near the carcasses of hundreds of crocodiles at a breeding farm in the Sorong district of West Papua, Indonesia.
EPA

Manullang told The Jakarta Post that it was thought the victim, Sugito, was looking for animal feed Friday when he was attacked. (Indonesians often have just one name.)

A local resident, Olga, added details: "His family said that Sugito, who worked at a tofu factory, was looking for grass for his cattle when a local resident heard him shouting for help but [...] Sugito was found dead," he told The Post.

The crocodile farm was run legally and had an official permit issued by the Environment and Forestry Ministry, Manullang said.

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People look at the carcasses of crocodiles slaughtered by villagers in Sorong,
AP

"The crocodile slaughter violated the law on destroying others' property," he added.

According to England’s Guardian newspaper, Manullang said the sanctuary had been granted a license in 2013 to breed protected saltwater and New Guinea crocodiles for preservation and also to harvest some of them. But one of the conditions was that the reptiles did not disturb the community, Manullang added.

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“To prevent this from happening again, farming licence holders need to secure surrounding areas,” he said.

Manullang said his agency was coordinating with the police in their investigation into the incident.