SYDNEY, Aug 11, 2008 (AFP) - Australian police were Monday hunting those responsible for a series of "sickening" attacks on native animals, including koalas.
Police said they were working with the animal protection group the RSPCA to find the offenders after a dead koala was found dumped in a garbage bin at a state park with a crushed skull, punctured eye, broken arm and other injuries.
Another of the cute and cuddly marsupials and her infant are being treated in an animal hospital after a witness saw them being pelted with rocks and sticks by a group of young men in the same Queensland park on Friday.
Two more koalas and their young have since been removed from Kallangur park, on the Sunshine Coast on Australia's east coast, for their own protection.
"Too many residents said this group is just harassing any animal they can lay their hands on," Caboolture Koala Care and Rescue's Anika Lehmann told national news agency AAP.
Queensland state Premier Anna Bligh said the attacks, which include live magpies being nailed by their wings to trees, were appalling.
"Some of these attacks are frankly sickening," she said.
"I am confident the police investigation will catch those responsible, and when they do, I join with others in saying I hope they throw the book at them."