National Zoo panda cam goes dark in shutdown

National Zoo panda cam goes dark in shutdown
This handout photo provided by the Smithsonian's National Zoo, taken Sept. 5, 2013, shows the zoo's Panda mother Mei Xiang with her cub at the zoo in Washington. (AP Photo/Smithsonian's National Zoo)

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.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.