The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Z_CNHI News Service

September 2, 2013

National Zoo's panda cam proves too cute to resist

The addicts are seemingly everywhere. They sneak peeks in the mornings before work. They watch at the office, keeping the live footage open on their computer screens all day. They linger long enough that they get kicked off for reaching the 15-minute time limit, only to hit the refresh button and start all over again.

The object of their obsession: the Smithsonian National Zoo's panda cams, which offer mesmerizing glimpses of the zoo's female giant panda, Mei Xiang, nursing and nuzzling her squealing newborn cub.

"I am on the panda cam right now. I look at it between appointments. I watch it at night. I watch it when I get up in the morning. I watch it when I go to bed. I am completely entranced," said Marjorie Swett, 62, a Bethesda psychotherapist, who, if she wanted, could do a side gig as a panda-cam color commentator. "Right now, she's sleeping and cuddling. . . . Now she's rolling over. She just went from an upright position and went gracefully on the ground, still folding the baby into herself . . . and her legs are up the wall. She looks totally comfortable."

Since Mei Xiang gave birth on Aug. 23, legions of panda lovers have bombarded the zoo's website, clicking on one of two available panda cams to spy on the mother and cub as they bond inside what the animals believe is their private den.

From late July (when new high-definition cameras were installed) to Friday, the zoo has recorded more than 847,000 clicks on its panda-cam Web page, with about 529,000 of those coming since the day of the cub's birth, according to Mike Thorpe, the zoo's Web specialist. More than 52,000 hours of panda-cam viewing have occurred since July — and more than 30,000 since the cub's birth. (That doesn't even include the number of times people have clicked "play" on the panda cam on the zoo's mobile app, data that weren't available Friday.)

Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
Featured Ads
Promotions
Poll

Does Dallas head coach Jason Garrett need for the Cowboys to make the playoffs during the 2014 football season to keep his job?

Yes
No
Who knows with Jerry Jones as owner?
     View Results
Facebook
Must Read
Photos


See more photos and purchase prints here.

AP Video
Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites Anti-violence Advocate Killed, but Not Silenced. Dempsey: Putin May Light Fire and Lose Control Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide