People look at the carcasses of crocodiles slaughtered by villagers in Sorong, West Papua, Indonesia. Picture: Irianti/AP

Jakarta - Police in Indonesia's West Papua province launched an investigation on Monday after an angry crowd slaughtered 292 crocodiles at a breeding farm as an act of revenge for a local man who was killed by one of the reptiles.

The man had been looking for grass for his cattle near one of the crocodile ponds at the farm in Sorong district when he was attacked by a crocodile on Friday, police said.

Hundreds of furious residents descended on the farm and massacred the reptiles after the victim's funeral on Saturday.

No one has been arrested yet for the killings, West Papua police chief Hary Supriyono said. 

The crowd could be charged with destruction of property, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and violating the law on animal conservation, Sorong police detective chief Sarifur Rahman told CNN Indonesia. 

The police were also investigating possible negligence by the owner of the farm, he said. 

The farm is estimated to have suffered financial losses totalling about 31,300 dollars as a result of the massacre, local media reported. Crocodiles are protected animals in Indonesia.