At least 10 stingrays have been found dead and mutilated on Australia's eastern coast since Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin was killed by one of the animals last week. The killings have prompted fears of "revenge attacks" against the normally docile fish. The popular television star was killed last week when a stingray barb pierced his chest as he filmed a TV show off Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
The death of the naturalist, who was snorkelling with the ray, prompted an outpouring of grief in Australia and among his fans worldwide.
The dead stingrays have been discovered on two beaches in Queensland, including two that were found with their tails lopped off.
A spokesman for Irwin's conservation group Wildlife Warriors said he was concerned the rays were being hunted and killed in retaliation for the TV star's death.
"It may be some sort of retribution, or it may be fear from certain individuals, or it just may be yet another callous act toward wildlife," he said.
He said people should treat stingrays with caution, but added: "There is still no need to kill or mutilate these important animals."