A shocking image of a dead koala, which was found screwed to a pole in Australia, sparked outrage on social media on Thursday. The image of the "sickening act" was first posted on Facebook by a koala charity.
A closer inspection of the photo revealed that the animal had signs of head trauma, however, the cause of death is unknown. Reports said that the search is underway for the culprit.
On Wednesday, Koala Rescue Queensland (KRQ) posted a report of one of the furry animals climbing a picnic shelter at Brooloo Park Lookout near Gympie, 175 kilometres north of Brisbane.
"This poor koala has been screwed to the pole with building screws," it said on Facebook. "He is deceased, but whether or not he was when cruelly attached to the structure is unknown."
Murray Chambers, president of KRQ, said that he thought he was hearing things when told about the incident. "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," he told broadcaster ABC.
"You know, I mean, what's wrong with society? Just makes you feel sick in the guts."
Hundreds of netizens slammed the "sickening" act and commented on the KRQ Facebook page.
"Hard to imagine that anyone could stoop so low," Tim Siggs, an user said. While, another user named Elly Bunting commented: "Absolutely horrendous. I really hope these grubs are caught and are dealt with and NOT with a slap on the hand."
In recent decades, the much-loved koala has been under increasing threat across Australia especially due to habitat loss, disease, dog attacks and bushfires. According to a 2012 national count, a total number of 330,000 koalas were present. However, their tree-top habitat makes accurate assessment difficult.
This is not the first time when a koala has been mistreated. Last year in November, one koala was found dead in Victoria state in tragic condition. Both the ears of the animal were cut off.
The police said at the time it followed a series of kangaroo and wallaby mutilations in the area. Earlier in 2017, a kangaroo was found shot dead, dressed in leopard-print, and tied to a chair holding a bottle of ouzo. This incident was also reportedly in Victoria state.