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National Zoo panda cam goes dark in shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The National Zoo's beloved panda cam and all other live animal cameras from the zoo have gone dark with the government shutdown.

The zoo itself will be closed to visitors starting Tuesday. A zoo spokeswoman says the live animal cameras went offline Tuesday morning and furloughed staff will be allowed to conduct an orderly shutdown. Officials say the shutdown won't affect care of the animals.

The zoo tweeted Monday that "The cams (incl. the panda cams) require federal resources, especially staff, to run. They have not been deemed essential ..."

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. the feed went dark.
   AP-WF-10-01-13 1242GMT