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2 cheetah cubs make public debut at Nat'l Zoo

Tuesday - 7/24/2012, 2:08pm  ET

The two 3-week-old cheetah cubs were transported last week to the Smithsonian's National Zoo. (Courtesy Smithsonian Zoo)

WASHINGTON - Two cheetah cubs are making their public debut at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington.

Zoo members were given the first opportunity Tuesday to see the three-month-old cubs in their public enclosure. Beginning Saturday, the general public will be able to view the cubs for one hour at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The zoo says it plans to name the cubs after the fastest American male and female athletes in the Olympics 100-meter dash.

Scientists say every surviving cub is critical to sustaining the species, which is threatened with extinction in the wild. These new cubs are genetically valuable because their mother and father were first-time parents.

The cubs were born in April. One was saved after veterinarians performed a "rare and risky" emergency cesarean section.

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