The federal government shutdown that starts today will impact dozens of highly viewed video channels.
For the past month, perhaps the most-viewed video service run by a federal government entity has been the National Zoo’s “Panda Cam,” showing the growth of the zoo’s tiny and as-yet-unnamed giant panda cub.
With the cub reaching its cute-as-a-button stage about two weeks ago, avid panda fans around the world are now cut off from a video service that has been so popular that it at times overloaded.
The National Zoo (which is part of the Smithsonian Institution) shut off the panda cam at approximately 8 a.m. this morning. It is expected to remain off for the duration of the federal government shutdown.
Of course, many other video operations run by the federal government are affected, including feeds from museums, parks and mainstream government agencies. Video services that are contracted with others, such as Voice of America and NASA, will continue to meet the terms of their contracts and continue to produce video for public consumption.
However, viewers across the country and around the world will sorely miss their daily dose of the National Zoo’s panda cam. When it will return is up to the president, Senate and House of Representatives – which means it will be anybody’s guess.
Below is a five-day-old YouTube video from the panda team at the National Zoo to give you some idea of what all the "panda-monium" is about: