The Australian RSPCA is investigating after a dead koala was found screwed to a pole in south-east Queensland.
After a koala charity posted the shocking image on its Facebook page, a search went underway for the culprit.
It was discovered that the animal had signs of head trauma, but the cause of death is unknown.
The RSPCA said it was unable to verify whether or not the koala bear had been killed before or after it was nailed to the pole in the Sunshine Coast hinterland park.
RPSCA spokesman Michael Beatty said: "There’s some injuries there but of course you don't know whether or not that was after the koala was already dead or whether it was still alive."
The RSPCA has custody of the body, which was found on Wednesday, and is to perform an autopsy on it in order to ascertain cause of death.
The photograph spread widely across social media after Koala Rescue Queensland wrote: "All is not as it seems in this photo. This poor koala has been screwed to the pole with building screws, he is deceased, but whether or not he was when cruelly attached to the structure is unknown.
"If anyone can help find the culprits please contact us or police. Incident took place at Brooloo Park Lookout today."
The charity said it thought the animal may have been hit by a car before being nailed to the post, and said the police would be informed if the culprit was caught.
Koala rescuer Murray Chambers told ABC this was the first time he had seen such a strange and cruel act.
“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."
He said that thankfully the koala was male, so there was no chance of a joey being left to die in a pouch, as so often happens with dead mother koalas.