A FATAL animal cruelty case where a bird's feet were shackled with cable ties and its tail cut has left wildlife volunteers puzzled and traumatised.
It was reported to Gladstone animal rescuers this week, but within 72 hours of being found in Tannum Sands, the small finch died from stress.
An RSPCA investigation has been launched in what's been described as a "senseless" animal cruelty case.
Gladstone District Wildlife Carers Association volunteer Jodi Jones struggled to find words to explain how or why a person would shackle a small bird's feet together.
Disgusted by the attack on the native bird, she said there were no excuses for the resident's behaviour.
"It's concerning and it's dangerous behaviour," she said.
"It's well documented that people who go down the path of animal cruelty can have issues later on in life trying to work out what's right and wrong."
She described it as a challenging case and said the bird was under extreme stress when he was found.
"They're social animals and he was removed from his family, captured and shackled," she said.
"Had we gotten through the first 72 hours in the first stages of care and relief we could have released him."
An RSPCA Queensland spokesperson the bird's death made the investigation more challenging, but with the help of wildlife volunteers they would monitor the area for similar behaviour.
Ms Jones said the volunteer-run organisation deals with "pretty horrible situations" often.
She said there has been similar cases where birds and other native animals were "humanised" or captured and kept as pets.
"As a group we decided we would go public (on this case), to make people aware that you just can't do this to animals," she said.
If you are concerned about an animal's welfare, report it to 1300 ANIMAL.