Cheetah Cubs Debut At The National Zoo [VIDEO]

By Amir Khan on July 26, 2012 9:56 AM EDT

cheetah
Two cheetah cubs are making their debut at Washington's Smithsonian National Zoo this week (Photo: Creative Commons)

Two cheetah cubs are making their debut at Washington's Smithsonian National Zoo this week. Zoo members got the opportunity to see the three-month old cubs on Tuesday before the general public, which will be able to see them beginning on Saturday.

The cubs are garnering extra attention because of the "rare and risky" situation surrounding their birth. The mother, Ally, gave birth to the first cub in April, but abandoned him and left him in the cold. Her labor then stopped, despite the fact that she still had three cubs inside her. Veterinarians quickly performed a cesarean section, saving one more of the cubs.

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While the cheetah cubs have not officially been named yet, zoo officials said they will be named after the fastest American Olympic athletes in the 100-meter dash. Possible names include Carmelita, Tianna and Allyson for the female cheetah and Justin, Tyson and Ryan for the male cheetah.

"The decision to name the cubs after the fastest Americans is part of a broader National Zoo Games campaign to celebrate the Zoo's finest animaletes," the Zoo says on its website. "Beginning July 24 and lasting for the duration of the Olympic Games, the Zoo will be posting photos, videos and fun facts showcasing the best of sport in the animal kingdom, from weightlifting ants to water polo-playing lions. Followers can track the updates on the Zoo's Facebook page and website and through the hashtag #ZooGames on Twitter. Each activity that the animals participate in is an important component of the Zoo's Animal Enrichment program, which provides physically and mentally stimulating activities and environments for the Zoo's residents."

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