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Cheetah cubs debut at National Zoo (VIDEO)

Three-month old cheetah cubs make their public debut at the Smithsonian National Zoo on July 24, 2012 in Washington, DC.


T.J. Kirkpatrick

Two cheetah cubs made their public debut at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

Visitors with membership to the zoo were given their first peek at the three-month-old cubs, and beginning on Saturday the general public can view the cubs for one hour, around 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., said CBS News.

They chased each other around the grass, and one of the cubs reportedly climbed a tree limb and had to be coaxed down by zookeepers.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the cubs, a male and a female, will be named after the fastest American athletes in the 2012 Olympics 100-meter dash.

The Huffington Post noted that the cubs had a difficult birth this spring, when their mother, Ally, gave birth to one cub and left him in the cold on a snowy day.

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Her labor stopped, despite three more cubs waiting to be born, and the zoo's veterinarians had to perform a "rare and risky" cesarean section, saving one more cub. The mother also survived, but two other cubs died.

The pair of cubs are especially important to the zoo because only 8,000 to 10,000 cheetahs live in the wild today, said Yahoo News. The National Zoo is part of a nationwide effort to boost the cheetah population.

Here is a peek at the young cubs playing, courtesy of Yahoo News:

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