South Australia's Environment Department has confirmed it is investigating a complaint about vegetation being cleared to restore the Marree Man in the South Australia's far north.
The mysterious giant geoglyph was first spotted in a field near the outback town of Marree in 1998 and became a quirky tourism drawcard.
Last year, Marree Hotel publican Phil Turner and other locals worked to plough the outline back into the desert, but their actions drew the ire of a local Indigenous group.
The department believes about 30 hectares was cleared to again make the giant figure a magnet for tourists.
"There was no approval granted by the Environment Department for any native vegetation clearance in that area," chief executive Sandy Pitcher said.
It is understood two local publicans and The Advertiser newspaper have been contacted by the department as part of its investigation.
"My team are just sending out the letters asking people what information they have," Ms Pitcher said.
"Where it goes from here will depend on what people provide and what information we have."
Advertiser journalist Adam Langenberg told ABC Radio Adelaide the department's letter requested interviews with four journalists and photographers.
"As far as I understand, the journalists and the two pub owners are complying with the requests put through by the Environment Department but people with bigger pay packets than me make those decisions," he said.