The panda cam has gone dark. We repeat, the panda cam has gone dark.
The Smithsonian National Zoo's panda cam, which livestreams the daily occurrences of giant pandas Tian Tian and Mei Xiang and, more importantly, their newborn baby girl, has officially been turned off, due to the government shutdown.
"Due to the federal government shutdown, the Smithsonian's National Zoo is closed. None of our live animal cams will broadcast," the Zoo's website explains. "The cams require federal resources, primarily staff, to run and broadcast. They've been deemed non-essential during the shutdown."
Since when are pandas nonessential?! What if the baby panda does something cute during the shutdown? Like take its first steps. Or sneeze. Or be a baby panda. That footage is lost forever.
Plus, now who's providing 24-hour surveillance over that baby to make sure Mei Xing doesn't accidentally eat it? Certainly not the citizen vigilance of this panda-loving nation.
Zoo officials assured the public, "All the animals will continue to be fed and cared for. A shutdown will not affect our commitment to the safety of our staff and standard of excellence in animal care."
So until a budget is settled, you aren't getting anything. No otter cam. No tiger cub cam. And no panda cam.
Pull it together, Congress! The people need their panda cam.
(Oh yeah, and a functioning government would be nice too.)