By Andie Noonan
He has been called the Steve Irwin of India, but fending off wild animals is all part of the job for wildlife campaigner Kartick Satyanarayan.
In the spotlight recently for helping free Raju the Indian elephant, who cried when he was released after 50 years in chains, Mr Satyanarayan is in Australia to bolster support for his work saving India's wildlife.
"I sometimes feel that maybe my blood is green. You just are sometimes born with it," the co-founder of Indian conservation group Wildlife SOS said.
"I feel some of us are chosen to do something like this for nature for wildlife."
He said his love of nature started young.
"I would walk back from school with my satchel and I would maybe see a bird with a broken wing, or an injured animal on the street."
"I would empty my satchel and bring the injured bird or animal back home, and get yelled at by my mum."
Among the horrifying cases of animal brutality, one from 2003 sticks in his memory.
Called in to rescue a leopard, he found himself in the firing line.
"We had a lot of police on site already and there were probably about 500 people around and it was a very dangerous situation," he said.
"So we tried to tranquilise the leopard. And as we hit the dart into the leopard, the leopard leaped over us and started running out towards the end of the property.
"Sadly there were police at the other end and I think they got a little bit unnerved seeing the leopard coming towards them ... and they started shooting."
Mr Satyanarayan said the overzealous police force ended up shooting him instead.
"I felt a sharp, hot, searing pain in my right leg," he said.
"I couldn't move after that and there were all these bullets still whizzing around. So we had to yell, scream, wave - it was a miracle we didn't get killed."
When he was rushed to hospital, he was told the bullet had missed his bone by three milimetres.
The night ended badly for the leopard: with its defender in hospital, it was killed.
The 'Steve Irwin' of India
Sydney-based Humane Society International (HSI) director Verna Simpson said Mr Satyanarayan has had incredible success.
"When you do what we do, you meet a lot of people who mean to do well, but they don't actually bring it home in the end," she said.
"He's had the most remarkable wins ... he's brought down probably the top three poachers in India and some of these people we can attribute almost 100 big cat deaths to."
Ms Simpson said he is the "go-to guy" for wildlife in India.
"He is like Steve Irwin, he's been bitten by snakes, he's been shot," she said.
"When I walk into the bear sanctuary - these are wild animals, who could kill you in a heartbeat.
"He walks through them like they're not even there and they jump on his back and he wrestles them to the ground ... I've got my back to the wall just watching him."
A fundraiser held by the Humane Society on Saturday netted $50,000 for Wildlife SOS's work, enough to by a water pump for the elephant ponds and a scale.
Dancing bears face danger in Nepal
Wildlife SOS is best known for saving the last "dancing bear" in India in 2009.
Since 1995, the organisation says it has saved 600 sloth bears, used for centuries by the nomadic Kalandar tribe.
Used to entertain tourists for money, the bears would be tied up with a rope forcibly placed through their snout. This rope would cause the bears to "dance" in pain when it was moved by the bear's owner.
Mr Satyanarayan says although there are no longer any known dancing bears in India, the problem has shifted.
He said sloth bear cubs are now being poached on the India-Nepal border and sold into Nepal where they cannot be traced.
"We've had informants who've gone missing in the past and we've had to work hard to rescue them and recover them back," he said.
Wildlife SOS's anti-poaching unit - Forest Watch - works, often undercover, to rescue animals and arrest and help authorities prosecute offenders.
Ant-eaters, leopard and tiger skins, tiger claws, ivory and turtle shells all catch the eye of the racketeers.
"The challenge is, like any other form of crime, like narcotics or gun running, crime always has to be controlled," Mr Satyanarayan said.
"And if you stay quiet, you don't put any effort into making sure the crime doesn't raise its ugly head again." Photos.