Watch As Rescued Baby Tiger Cub Grows Up Before Your Very Eyes

Jordan Claes
Baby tiger cub roaring for the first time.
youtube | The Dodo

If "Joe Exotic" and Netflix's Tiger King taught us anything, it's that the illegal trade of big cats is a booming business in the United States. Thousands of animals are bought and sold every day, many of whom don't live long enough to see their first birthday.

A little more than two years ago, The Wildcat Sanctuary rescued a mating pair of tigers from an illegal animal farm. While there, they discovered a weak and abandoned cub lying among the rubble and decided to document its first year of life.

Dash Was Born Into A World Filled With Danger And Uncertainty.

View as the car approaches an abandoned tiger farm.
The Wildcat Sanctuary | The Wildcat Sanctuary

His parents were both residents at an illegal big cat farm — a place where tigers, lions, and various other species of big cats were sold to the highest bidder. When one of the caretakers passed away, The Wildcat Sanctuary received a call to come and collect the animals.

Upon their arrival, TWS discovered a female tiger, Winona, and her mate, Marcus, living in abysmal conditions. But what they weren't anticipating finding was a lone tiger cub hiding among the rubble. The cub was malnourished and so neglected that its umbilical cord was still attached.

Dash Was Rushed Back To The Sanctuary Where A Team Of Animal Doctors Quickly Set To Work On Him.

A baby tiger cub inside a playpen.
youtube | The Dodo

At the time of his arrival, Dash weighed just over four pounds. He was weak, utterly defenseless, and his eyes were still unopened. The young cub had the drive to live and defied expectations at every turn. By the tenth day, Dash's eyes had opened. He took his first steps less than a week later, and by the end of the first month — Dash was showing signs of independence and a desire to explore his new surroundings.

Dash's First Forray Into The Great Outdoors Happened Within Two Months.

Dash the tiger playing outside in the snow for the first time at The Wildcat Sanctuary.
youtube | The Dodo

It was wintertime at The Wildcat Sanctuary, but Dash certainly didn't seem to mind the snow at all. Already, he had grown more than two times his size and was slowly turning from a cub into a kid. By the time spring rolled around, Dash was spending most of his days lazing around the encampment and quickly grew fond of his kiddy pool. Thanks to his loving and attentive caretakers, Dash was able to discover his knack for painting, as well as his fondness for pumpkins and watermelons.

After What Felt Like No Time At All, Big Cat Sanctuary Was Ready To Celebrate Dash's First Birthday In Style.

Among Dash's many new presents, his favorite gift was a giant blue ball — which he happily rolled all around his pen. As hard as it is to believe, that was more than two years ago and Dash just recently celebrated his second birthday!

"Dash has grown into a very strong adult tiger now," a rep from The Wildcat Sanctuary writes via their website. "At times, he’s affectionately been called 'Dash the Destroyer' since he attacks every new toy with such power."

If you want to help Dash and other big cats like him, click here for more information.