New names for National Zoo’s cheetah cubs

WASHINGTON – The new cheetah cubs at the National Zoo have finally been named.

The zoo announced in July they would name the cubs after the fastest American male and female sprinters in the 100-meter dash. As of Sunday, the cubs will officially be known as Justin and Carmelita, named for Justin Gatlin and Carmelita Jeter.

On Saturday, Jeter ran the sprint in 10.78 seconds, winning her a silver medal. On Sunday, Gatlin ran the same distance in 9.79 seconds, winning him the bronze.

Cheetahs are the fastest land animal in the world, faster than the speed limit of the Capital Beltway. Fully grown, they can reach speeds of up to 75 mph.

The cubs were born on April 23 in Front Royal, Va. They are now on exhibit at the zoo’s cheetah conservation station at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day.

There are an estimated 7,500 to 10,000 cheetah’s left in the wild and they are considered a vulnerable species.

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