Panda eats. Webcam shoots. Nobody leaves.

A barrage of Panda cam visitors has forced the National Zoo Web site to boot people off every 15 minutes.

Tai Shan, the giant panda born in captivity at the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo in Washington, D.C., on July 9, 2005, has just turned 1. The son of Mei Xiang and Tian Tian is a subject of interest to more than 22 million people. That is how many have visited the Panda cams since Tai Shan's birth, according to a spokesman for the National Zoo.

Tai Shan
Credit: Smithsonian Institution

The two Web cams focus on the outdoor habitat where Tai Shan and Mei Xiang spend most of their days eating bamboo shoots, climbing trees, wrestling and sleeping. However, because of the large volume of people peaking in on them, the National Zoo has had to limit viewing sessions to 15 minutes. The zoo Web site also recommends the Animal Planet Panda cam as an alternative portal for those who can not get through to the zoo site.

In addition to the Panda cams, the National Zoo offers a plethora of panda information and photos. Screensavers and wallpaper are also available in exchange for a donation to the Giant Panda Conservation Fund.

So, what do you get a giant panda for his first birthday? Tai Shan's keepers at the National Zoo treated him to a concoction of frozen fruit juices, fruits, and vegetables, which he shared with his mom Mei Xiang. The giant fruitsicle was shaped like a birthday cake topped with the number one. Fujifilm Photo Film, the lead corporate sponsor of the pandas, gave Tai Shan a new soccer ball and a baby pool filled with water.

Tech Culture
About the author

In a software-driven world, it's easy to forget about the nuts and bolts. Whether it's cars, robots, personal gadgetry or industrial machines, Candace Lombardi examines the moving parts that keep our world rotating. A journalist who divides her time between the United States and the United Kingdom, Lombardi has written about technology for the sites of The New York Times, CNET, USA Today, MSN, ZDNet,, and GameSpot. She is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not a current employee of CNET.


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