D.C.

Bao Bao Panda Cam hits record views

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Bao Bao's every move has captivated the world. From her birth on August 23 to her first cuddles with her mother, Mei Xiang. The world has witnessed every milestone thanks to the panda cams- which have ten million hits since August.

A team of 45 trained volunteers runs the controls from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. They swap between 38 cameras, including four new HD cams strategically placed in Bao Bao's den and favorite play areas.

Keeper Marty Dearie relies on the cameras to monitor Bao Bao's development and make sure the pandas are okay.

"We're watching the bears, keeping an eye on what they're doing," explained Dearie. "Making sure they don't need any food or whatever."

The volunteers use the cameras to track behavioral data- like when Bao Bao cries, nurses or spends time on her own.

In October, the government shutdown shut down the panda cams to public view for two weeks causing outrage among worldwide fans. They missed Bao Bao opening her eyes and vet check-ups.

"It was quite disappointment," said Elisabeth Grindley, a panda fan. "There was such a change in her."

When the webcams went live again, Bao Bao began climbing and playing with new toys. Now, she has training sessions, but you won't see those online. The volunteers are forbidden from showing people in the enclosures on the panda cams.

In the next couple months, the keepers say Bao Bao will sleep less and become more active and playful. They advise tuning in early in the morning or mid-afternoon to see the most action.

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