WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT BELOW
Koala rescuers have been left horrified after a dead koala was reportedly found screwed to a post at a south-east Queensland park.
The RSPCA is investigating and volunteers from Koala Rescue Queensland are planning to recover the body from the Sunshine Coast hinterland on Thursday after taking a call from a council worker on Wednesday.
The caller said he found the koala screwed to the pole of a gazebo-like structure at Brooloo Park in Imbil and sent a photo to help the carers identify whether it was male or female.
KRQ co-founder and carer Ray Chambers said police would be informed and he called for harsh penalties if the perpetrator was caught.
His major concern was finding out whether the animal was alive or dead when it was screwed to the pole.
Ray's twin brother Murray, a fellow rescuer, said he first heard about the koala through a woman who called worried because she had seen blood near the animal, which she thought was still alive and clinging to the pole of its own volition.
But she spoke to a council worker, who Murray had also spoken to, who confirmed the koala was dead and had been screwed to the post.
Murray told the ABC he thought he was hearing things when he heard what had happened.
"I've had some bad incidents in the past," he said.
"We've had koalas shot a few times. We've had them deliberately run over but this is the first time some nutcase has actually screwed a koala to a building.
"You know, I mean, what's wrong with society? Just makes you feel sick in the guts."
The photo confirmed the koala was male, fortunately meaning there was no chance of a joey left in the pouch, Ray said.
He said the council worker had removed the koala and placed him in a nearby bush and his group would retrieve the body and organise an autopsy on Thursday to try to determine how he died.
RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty said an inspector had been assigned to the case and would try to organise an autopsy.
Councillors from the Gympie Regional Council and police were not immediately available to comment.
Anyone with information should call the RSPCA on 1300 364 443.