|THIS giant feral pig was shot on a Pilbara cattle station after it was spotted eating a dead cow.|
The picture has been circulating on the internet alongside claims the boar was killed at various locations across Australia.
It was written off as a hoax by many, including WA's Department of Environment and Conservation, and sparked much debate when published on website PerthNow.
But The Sunday Times has confirmed that the pig was shot on a Pilbara cattle station near Newman, 1200km northeast of Perth.
Sources close to the family of the man in the photo have confirmed he is Pilbara pastoralist John Anick and the picture was taken on his property three years ago.
The family refused to talk about the giant boar, for fear that illegal pig hunters would flock to the area.
The source said the 220kg beast was eating a cow when it was first seen by workers mustering cattle in a helicopter. Mr Anick saw it again on a trip to check windmills on the property and shot it.
``I can vouch 100 per cent, I don't even have to say 90 per cent, that it (the photo) was taken in the Pilbara and it is who I said it is,'' the source said.
This reader comment was left on the PerthNow report this week: ``Information I have on this photo is that it was shot by John Anick ... During muster a helicopter spotted it and when told John drove out and shot it! Many sausages were made and eaten, so I'm told!''
DEC spokesman Nigel Higgs said the picture was a fake.
``There are some pigs at De Grey River, east of Port Hedland, and some domestic pigs gone wild near Savory Creek, 200km east of Newman, but they are small and pink,'' he said.
Another source working in Perth claimed to have scanned the original photograph into a computer.
Hoax-Slayer.com says an article in the January 2007 edition of Sporting Shooter also states the boar was shot on a cattle station in the Pilbara.
There are estimated to be more than 23million feral pigs roaming the nation, predominantly in New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
They prey on native species and destroy habitats.
The DEC has culled hundreds in the state's South-West over the past two years.