Okay, who likes pandas?

Of course you do! How could you not? They’re fuzzy and cute, they walk around eating bamboo all day, they rarely maul people to death when they bump into them in the woods like their bigger brown relatives… That said, with fewer than 3,000 pandas estimated to be in existence across the globe, the chances of running into one while out for a morning stroll are pretty slim…

So thank goodness that Ueno Zoo in Tokyo– home to two of just 11 pandas in the country– has installed a set of cameras in its panda enclosure, allowing the public to take a sneaky peek at the pair from the comfort of their own home.

Ueno’s giant pandas, Shin Shin and Ri Ri, shot to fame in July this year after the birth of their cub- Japan’s first captive panda conceived through sexual intercourse. Tragically, the baby died of pneumonia just a week later, much to the nation’s remorse, but the parents remain the stars of the zoo nevertheless.

The pandas are on loan from their native China, and are believed to cost the Tokyo metropolitan government around 1 million US dollars per year, but have been a big hit with visitors to the zoo ever since their arrival in 2011.

And now, by accessing Ueno Zoo’s dedicated panda cam site, internet users can watch the fluffy black and white bears go about their daily lives in real-time.

As soon as we heard the news, we headed over to the site to take a look. Of course, this is real life, and we can’t always expect to find the pandas turning cartwheels or penning sonnets, but we were eager to see nonetheless.

Oh. That’s… a table? Of some kind…?

Clearly we weren’t in luck today and the pandas were hiding somewhere out of shot. We resolved to try again later…

But wait! Scroll down below the live feed and the true awesomeness of Ueno’s Panda Cam site reveals itself!

Lo and behold! A click-able map, with lots of cameras to choose from!

With five fixed cameras and three that slowly rotate, there’s ne’er a place for Ri Ri and Shin Shin to hide from our prying eyes!

Excited to catch a glimpse of the pair, we started checking out the other viewing angles. But it was almost as if the pandas knew we were trying to track them down, and were either sitting as far away from our selected cameras as possible or with their backs to us…

▼No, come back!

▼Is he sipping a beer??

Finally, we tracked one of them down– wouldn’t you know it– at the exact place we started. And people say that pandas are slow movers…

While the website is unlikely to find a permanent home among many people’s web browser bookmarks, it’s certainly a fun distraction from Facebook and pretending to work. It’s also nice to see just how much space Ueno Zoo gives its two giant pandas, with a large outdoor area as well as three separate indoor sections to roam about in.

Hopefully the pair haven’t noticed the presence of the cameras and it doesn’t put them off the idea of trying for another baby in the near future…

The cameras are in operation between 09:30 and 17:00 Japan Standard Time (00:30~08:00 GMT, 20:30~04:00 EST) and the live-feed is completely free to watch, making this perhaps the first time in our lives that we can openly admit to loved ones that we’re in our bedrooms watching live Japanese webcams and not feel bad about it…

Source: マイナビニュース Images: Tokyo Ueno Zoo