By Tom Gillespie @TomGillespie1

A COWARDLY lion climbing a tree to escape a herd of buffalo, a Brazilian bodybuilder who injected himself with oil to look like the Incredible Hulk and a man abseiling into a lava lake are just some of the incredible images that feature in Barcroft Media's 2015 end of year round-up

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Fighting stance: A lion rears up on its back legs to kill a Kudu in front of stunned motorists
World's biggest pit bull Hulk with owner Marlon and his son Jordan Grennan

The international press agency, which has offices in London, New York and Delhi, trawls the world looking for stories that showcase the amazing side of life.

Plus-sized pole dancer Eda Maybury shows off her skills
Kanya Sesser is all hands on deck at the skate park

The world's biggest pit bull Hulk - who weighed in at 175lbs - took the internet by storm when he was pictured perched on the sofa next to owner Marlon Grennan and three-year-old son Jordan.   

Last male white rhino Sudan is protected by armed guards John Mugo and Daniel Main
Image-conscious Pixee Fox after surgery to have her ribs removed
Jaspreet Singh Kalra demonstrates his flexibility by winding his arms around his back and wrapping them around his waist

And the heat was on for adventurer Sam Cossman who journeyed to the precipice of the most active lava lake in the world - which bubbles away on the remote island of Ambrym in the Republic of Vanuatu.

An 11-year-old boy works at a Bangladeshi tannery without any safety equipment
A turbocharged off-road vehicle performs a death-defying leap

Elsewhere limbo dancer Shemika Charles reached new lows when she managed to limbo under an SUV, and 18-year-old Adrianne Lewis put her money where her mouth was when she unleashed her record-breaking four inch tongue.

Adventurer Sam Cossman hangs above a lava lake while wearing his custom-built heat suit

Barcroft also published some of the year's most dramatic weather photography, from a supercell whirling against a blood orange sunset in Texas in May to Mount Etna erupting as lightning crackles in the sky. 

Nicknamed India's needle man, Bhupen Chandra Das claims to hold the record for inserting as many as 550 surgical needles into his face
Transgender Kim Kardashian lookalike Thalia Almodovar poses at her home in Queens

The selection also features mind-blowing animal interactions, including an elephant that found itself in deep water when its trunk was bitten by a crocodile, and a moving portrait of an armed guard protecting the world's only remaining male northern white rhino. 

Human statue Ashley Kurpiel suffers from a rare condition that is turning her muscles into bone
The upstream inflow entrance of Tham Khoun Xe, Laos, has a verdant forest inside a huge collapsed doline

Barcroft Media is renowned for its viral video content, with many of these images being accompanied by an incredible short film.

Bodybuilder Romario Dos Santos Alves modelled himself on the Incredible Hulk and risked his life injecting oil into his arms
Model Melanie Gaydos was born with Ectodermal Dysplasia, an illness that has left her hair, teeth, and skin undeveloped
A gentle giant so embarrassed by his height he hid at home for half his life eventually found love - with a woman three feet smaller than him

The agency's YouTube channel Barcroft TV has now topped more than 1.5 billion views.

A crocodile is almost lifted from the water after biting the trunk of a bull elephant
A view of a volcanic eruption at Mount Etna's Vorgaine crater
A green tree frog attempts a pull-up
Most teenage boys love to run around and play – but ‘Butterfly Boy’ Jonathan’s skin is so delicate it falls away at the slightest knock
Lightning bolts illuminate the sky in a near-Biblical scene in Johannesburg, South Africa
A cowardly lion clings to a tree as an angry buffalo herd waits below