What happened during the 17-day closure of the National Zoo due to the federal government shutdown?

The baby panda packed on the pounds.

There were two deaths: a century-old female giant tortoise and a wrinkled hornbill.

A female lowland gorilla was sent to a zoo in Wichita for breeding purposes.

And two of the zoo’s lions mated.

With television cameras rolling and dozens of staff on hand to greet the gathered crowd, the zoo opened to the public at precisely 10 a.m. Friday, after a closure that lasted for 2 1/2 weeks.

Zoo director Dennis Kelly used a red-and-white bullhorn to lead a “3, 2, 1” countdown as the metal gates were opened, ending one of the most visible signs of the government spending impasse.