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National Zoo Shuttered, Panda Cam goes Dark Amid Government Shutdown

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Oct 01, 2013 04:24 PM EDT
Newborn Giant Panda Cub at National Zoo in Washington DC
Ripple effects from shutdown of the US government are being seen across the country, including at the Smithsonian Nation Zoo in Washington D.C, which was shuttered Tuesday, along with its popular panda cam program. The August 2013 image shows one of the first pictures of the newborn panda at the National Zoo. (Photo : Courtney Janney, Smithsonian's National Zoo via Flickr )

Ripple effects from shutdown of the US government are being seen across the country, including at the Smithsonian Nation Zoo in Washington D.C, which was shuttered Tuesday, along with its popular panda cam program.

Tourists in the nation's capital expressed their frustration and dismay that what President Barack Obama called a right-wing "ideological crusade" to defund his health care plan has affected something as unrelated as a day at the zoo.

A sign on the gates of the zoo Tuesday morning read: "All Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo are closed today due to the government shutdown."

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"Stupid government!" said Ajay Amasiu, when he learned the zoo was closed, the Huffington Post reported. "We were surprised it was closed," said Sophia Martuzzi, who had stopped by with the 1-year-old boy she is au pair to.

The zoo is closed to visitors, but the animals inside will still receive care from zoo staff. Security will remain on-hand throughout the shutdown as well.

The National Zoo's beloved panda cam, as well as all of its other animal cams, went dark Tuesday morning as a result of the shutdown. When Mei Xiang, the zoo's giant panda, gave birth on Aug. 23, the panda cams became internet sensations.

Monday, the zoo said on Twitter that the web cams require federal resources, especially staff, to run and that they were deemed a non-essential operation.

Three other zoos in the country, Zoo Atlanta, the San Deigo Zoo and the Memphis Zoo have panda cams, so any anyone jonesing for a panda cam fix won't go completely unsatisfied.

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