Has the mystery of the naked man straddling a shark been solved?

The mystery of a naked man pictured straddling a shark may have been solved and is believed to be a New York City police officer, according to a Florida sports reporter.

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This strange image of a butt naked man straddling the freshly caught shark in a boat swept the internet before a "manhunt" was triggered by wildlife TV show host Anneka Svenska.

"Who is this man?" Svenska tweeted on 5 May. "Please find him & ask him why he did this? Where is the humour in humiliating slaughtered animals?"

As the photo burned its way through social media, some thought they recognised him and on Friday, David Pingalore, the sports anchor for WKMG-TV in Orlando, said he was contacted by a man who knows the NYPD police officer and provided photos of him.

New York Daily News reports that the pictures were of the man clothed and without clothes.

Pingalore said the man lives in upstate New York and that the "photo was taken two years ago off the shores of Long Island".

Speaking on Orlando Sentinel writer Mike Bianchi's radio show, Pingalore said his first name was Shawn or Sean and that he was waiting for permission to share more photos.

He added that his source is a friend of the mystery man who was on holiday in Florida when he spotted the news story about the photo.

Pingalore said: "The man that is naked on the shark is afraid for his life because he believes bounty hunters — I'm not making this up — and people with shark people, whatever, those people would be called."