Today, the US Federal Government entered its third day of a shutdown, as Democrats and Republicans wrangle over immigration and other hot-button issues. So what does that mean for the only federal zoological facility in the country?
The National Zoo is still open to the public for now - just as well, because there are a lot of federal workers who aren't coming in today, and they might as well have somewhere to go and get out of the house. This is a change from the most recent shutdown, where a photo of a child standing outside the locked gates of the zoo became one of the most iconic images of the kerfuffle.
Regardless if the zoo is opened or closed, someone needs to be going in - animal care isn't like many other professions, where you can leave the lights off and come back in a few days later to catch up (not making light of everyone else's work, of course). There is still the added stress of when paychecks will be issued to the keepers, but hopefully this won't go on too long to impact that aspect of their lives.
Ideally, the animals will never even notice that anything different is going on, the zoo will stay open to the public, the government will reopen, and everyone will get paid.
Until then, everyone should know that the zoo is still there, and plugging along as best as they can.