WASHINGTON (AP) — Two cheetah cubs that had a rocky entrance into the world are set to make their public debut at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

The three-month-old cubs will be let into their public enclosure in the zoo’s cheetah conservation station at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The zoo also plans to announce how the cubs’ names will be chosen.

Cheetahs are the fastest animals on land. But 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 late April. Zoo veterinarians performed a “rare and risky” emergency cesarean section to save one of them.

Two other cubs died.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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