Oct. 17, 2013 at 9:56 AM ET
Our 16-day national nightmare is over: The panda cam is back.
When Congress passed legislation Wednesday night to end the government shutdown, it paved the way for the return of the National Zoo's popular webcam, which shows the Washington D.C. pandas 24 hours a day.
The webcam, which broadcasts from the zoo's website, was back up and running on Thursday, while the zoo itself will open on Friday. The zoo's 15 different cams required federal resources, primarily staff, to operate and were deemed non-essential during the shutdown, according to a release by the zoo. There may be some difficulty in viewing the live stream initially because of the popularity of the panda cam, which can only handle a limited number of connections, according to the zoo.
The government shutdown did not affect the pandas' care, just people’s ability to slack off at work while watching them. The animals were fed and cared for during the shutdown, the zoo made clear in a post on its website when the panda cam initially went dark.
So, go ahead — everyone can now get back to watching giant pandas Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and Mei Xiang's 8-week-old cub do cute panda things all day.