Panda cam, joy restored after end of shutdown in Washington

At long last, the panda cam from the National Zoo is up and streaming.
By Caroline Lee   |   Oct. 17, 2013 at 1:44 PM   |   Comments

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(UPI) -- The 16-day government shutdown is over, so the National Zoo finally got to restart its panda livestream Thursday morning.

The camera is trained 24/7 on giant panda Mei Xiang and her baby girl, who is nearly two months old. The stream itself has struggled to host the volume of viewers trying to get their eyes on the furballs.

Fifteen cameras in the National Zoo, including the panda cam, required federal resources to operate and were determined non-essential during the shutdown. Even Newt Gingrich tried to get the panda cam back early, calling it one of the "really, really sad" effects of the government shutdown.

"I will personally pay the cost of panda cam's electricity," Gingrich said.

Once the cameras started rolling again, the Internet rejoiced.

The National Zoo will reopen Friday, where Washingtonians and visitors will be able to see the pandas in person again.

The baby panda now weighs 5 pounds -- up from 3.07 pounds in late September -- and her eyes are beginning to open. She will not be able to walk until she is four months old, which, incidentally, is just before the budget deal passed Wednesday is set to expire.

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