Panda bears, college athletes deemed 'nonessential' personnel during government shutdown

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 1 2013 12:21 p.m. MDT

National Zoological Park Police Officer Will Jones directs visitor Miguel Miranda and his family of Mexico at the entrance of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, as the zoo is closed due to the government shutdown. Miranda was advised to turn around.

Manuel Balce Ceneta, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

More than 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed without pay during the U.S. government shutdown. That’s a very serious matter because it means nearly 1 million hard-working Americans are losing earning opportunities they may never recoup.

However, not all the repercussions of the federal shutdown threaten to inflict irreparable harm. In that vein, here are a couple of examples of shuttered federal functions unlikely to result in gnashing of teeth:

No more Panda cam: “The government shutdown has claimed one of its most beloved casualties: the National Zoo's panda cam,” Gregory Wallace reported for CNNMoney. “… The Smithsonian Institution was required to shutter many nonessential programs during the shutdown, including the (National Zoo).

“(The zoo) said it would staff around-the-clock care of the animals. (It) normally relies on a mix of staff and volunteers to tend to the animals and serve its 2 million annual visitors. But volunteers aren't allowed to keep the main gates open, since all government agencies are barred from allowing employees to volunteer in the event of a shutdown.”

College sports on hold: USA Today’s Thomas O’Toole wrote Tuesday, “The Department of Defense has suspended all intercollegiate athletics competitions at all three academies, including West Point. For example, Tuesday night's Navy-Howard soccer game has been canceled.

“The suspensions of athletics will last through the government shutdown. If the shutdown is going to extend through the weekend, then the Navy-Air Force game would be postponed, a person with knowledge of the decision process told USA Today Sports. The person requested anonymity because they were not cleared to speak publicly.”

Email: jaskar@desnews.com

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