by Frances Klein and Scott Kovacevic
UPDATE Friday 11.30am:
RSPCA has confirmed the results of an autopsy on a koala found screwed to a post in a Gympie region lookout point on Wednesday.
Organisation investigator Michael Beatty said results show the koala was hit by a car and almost certainly dead before it was attached to the post.
"In all probability it was dead before it was attached to the gazebo," Mr Beatty said.
"There was no blood flow from where it was attached."
He said the autopsy showed the koala suffered trauma to the head and liver, and frayed claws which is evidence of being hit by a car as the body is dragged on the road.
The RSPCA investigator still slammed the sick act against the previously healthy male koala as defying belief.
Evidence also suggests the animal was dumped in the bush for a few days before being retrieved and displayed so violently, he said.
"It could have been dead for two or three days," he said.
Sadly the 'sick joke' was part of a growing trend in the summer months, Mr Beatty said.
"At this time of year, every year, really disturbing acts seem to surface.
"For some reason the summer holidays seem to spark real acts of animal cruelty."
He said RSPCA could not prosecute anyone involved in the way the koala's body was treated under the Animal Care and Protection Act, but they were continuing investigations.
Mr Beatty said RSPCA deals with more than 23 000 native animals call outs a year, with only 23 investigators tending to them.
MORE: 'Its ear looked like it was mangled'
THINKING he had helped save an injured koala at the Brooloo Park Lookout on Wednesday, Dave Phillips' reaction to reading yesterday's headlines was understandable.
"I was horrified," he said.
"That's really sad, isn't it?"
Mr Phillips said he had seen the koala on the post about 7.45am on his way to work, and had stop to get a closer look.
"I tried to stay as far away as I could," Mr Phillips said, believing at the time it was asleep.
Even from a distance, he could see some blood and knew it had been hurt.
"It's ear looked like it was mangled, and it looked like it had been dragged (by a car)".
Without a mobile phone to use he sought help from someone down the road, thinking that it would survive if wildlife rescue groups could tend to it.
After seeing the news, however, he said he now thought it was a different story.
"I'm pretty sure it was dead," he said.
UPDATE Thursday 10.50AM: A KOALA conservationist has slammed a vile act in which a koala was screwed to a picnic table pole at Brooloo, saying they are not yet sure if the koala was alive or dead when it happened.
A co-founder of Koala Rescue Queensland, Ray Chambers said the incident was "absolutely mind-boggling", and not something which was often seen in our region.
"It's sort of a first, like that," he said.
He was unable to say whether the koala was alive or dead when it was attached to the pole.
"We've got to get our vets to look at him and determine whether the cause of death was prior to what happened," he said.
He was concerned that there was no obvious cause of death, though.
"in the photo he looks pretty healthy."
As vile as the act was, he said it was unfortunately not the worst thing he had seen done to koalas.
He said one of his own had been found decapitated, while another koala at Redcliffe had been found shot in the face.
"There are scum out there," Mr Chambers said.
Unfortunately, he said he could not see any changes in incidents like these until governments brought in tougher animal cruelty laws.
With more than 2000 comments on the Facebook post already, he said the community outrage and support had been overwhelming.
In fact, a he said a member of the Kawana Police Criminal Investigation Branch had approached him about helping out.
He asked anybody with any information to contact the Kenilworth Police or Koala Rescue Queensland, and said they were potentially looking for somebody who had been either camping or parked at the site "for a while".
EARLIER: 7.49AM: THE photo looks innocent enough.
A koala attempting to climb a wooden gazebo poll in Brooloo Park.
But the photo hides a dark secret.
The koala is dead, and has been screwed to the pole.
It is unknown if the animal was deceased at the time, but the act has been met with outrage from conservation groups.
It is believed building screws were used to secure the body to the wooden structure at Brooloo Park lookout.
The body of the Koala was found yesterday.
Koala Rescue Queensland staff said the body has since been removed and an investigation has commenced.
A Koala Rescue Queensland spokesman told The Gympie Times this incident was important to highlight to "help catch these vile individuals or at least show some of the horror we see daily."
The conservation group recently came to the aid of a koala that was mauled by dogs in Kandanga.
They run a 24 hour rescue service state wide and cater to sick, injured and orphaned koalas.
Koala Rescue Queensland are appealing for witnesses and asking anyone with information to contact police.