Author Col Bailey's intense fascination with the Tasmanian tiger has inspired three books, and a move to the creature’s home state.
His latest book, Lure of the Thylacine: The Myths and Legends of the Tasmanian Tiger, tells tales about the fabled animal.
Bailey said his interest in the creature was piqued after an elusive encounter with a potential thylacine in South Australia during 1967.
I just wanted to protect the animal for what it is: a magnificent survivor.Col Bailey on his secret encounter with a thylacine
"I was canoeing along early one morning, when I saw a strange animal,” Bailey said.
“I watched it through binoculars and to this day, I'm not sure what it was.
"But the locals were calling it a Tasmanian tiger - they'd seen the same sort of animal and it got me started."
The last known thylacine died in captivity in Tasmania in 1936 - yet since then, there has been endless conjecture and countless conspiracies.
Bailey is one of Tasmania's most prevalent believers, and he is certain the thylacine is not extinct.
He has interviewed hundreds of people over the years, delving into their thylacine knowledge and encounters, and some tales are derived from his own experiences.
"One thing led to another, and I started a search for it myself," Bailey said.
He claimed he came face-to-face with a "live, breathing tiger" in the state's South-West in 1995.
"It was surreal, it was really surreal to stand and look into the eyes of this strange animal," he said.
"I'd been looking for it for so long but only half-expected to find it.
"It was such a shock to actually see it in the flesh...I went into melt-down, I went into shock and just stood there and stared at it.”
Bailey kept his alleged encounter a secret for 17 years until his second book, Shadow of the Thylacine, came out, even from his wife.
He kept the brush with the creature quiet to "protect the animal from exploitation".
"There could be big money in if you were motivated, but that's not what I wanted, I just wanted to protect the animal for what it is: a magnificent survivor."
Despite thinking he's only spotted the tiger twice, Bailey is certain he's been in their vicinity on more occasions.
"I've smelt one, and I've actually heard them calling up in the bush right up to as early as eight years ago," Bailey said.
"They've got a distinct call, and once you've heard it you never forget it.
"I've heard them in various places in Tasmania and I actually got near enough to smell one back around the turn of the century."
Bailey's favourite tale from his latest offering concerns bushman Reg Trigg, who caught a thylacine in a trap in the Western Tiers.
Mr Trigg went on to rehabilitate the animal, which he named Lucy before releasing her back into the wild.
Three years later, Lucy came back to the man with a couple of cubs to see him.
It’s the key "very touching" story about a man who "shared so many stories about the tiger" with Bailey.
Bailey came to live in Tasmania due to his fascination with the animal, moving from his South Australian home.
"I'm not a Tasmanian in the real sense of it...I've been here for 27 years so I feel like a Tasmanian now," Bailey said.
"That's the reason I came over, I was coming back and forwards all the time, and you’ve really got to be here.
“That's when my luck started to change, when we came over here permanently."
At 79-years-old, Bailey, who resides at New Norfolk, said he's no longer able to embark on ambitious searches for the thylacine.
"If I could get a helicopter into a place I would, but I wouldn't walk the miles that I used to," Bailey said.
"I'd love to be 20 or 30 years younger, knowing what I know now.
"But unfortunately, time has passed me by."
Bailey’s latest offering is an updated version of his first book, the original Tiger Tales, which was published in 2001.
"It's a collection of anecdotal, true stories about the Tasmanian tiger over a period of about 150 years and I gathered a lot of these from the old bushmen many years ago," he said.
"This is an updated version with a lot more in it, many more stories, the others have been redone and upgraded, it's really a new book under an old banner."
He first began publishing works on the thylacine as a biweekly series in the Derwent Valley Gazette in the 1990s.
Bailey said people often questioned his “cemented” belief in the species’ existence.
He said he once received reports of between 30 to 40 supposed sighting reports a year, whereas he now only receives about six.