National zoo’s panda cam goes dark

WASHINGTON (AP) The beloved panda cam at Washington’s National Zoo has gone dark with the government shutdown.

The panda cam has been popular since the birth of a new cub on Aug. 23. Mother Mei Xiang could be seen snuggling with the weeks-old cub through the morning, but around 8 a.m. Tuesday the feed went dark.

A zoo spokeswoman says all live animal cameras went offline Tuesday morning. The zoo itself will be closed to visitors, but officials say the shutdown won’t affect care of the animals.

The U.S. government was forced to partially shut down Tuesday after Congress couldn’t reach a budget agreement.

Some 800,000 nonessential federal employees were ordered to stay home.

The panda cam has “not been deemed essential,” the zoo tweeted Monday.

(Copyright 2013  Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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