Yang Yang, a 4-year-old Chinese boy, swims with a 5-year-old beluga whale named Xiao Qiang at an aquarium in Qingdao, in China’s eastern Shandong Province. Yang Yang, who has been swimming for three years, will perform with the white beluga again in 2008 to welcome visitors who come to watch sailing events at the 2008 Olympic Games.
They first appeared in public together during the country’s National Children’s Day in the summer and proved such a success that it was decided to make them an Olympic attraction. The boy’s parents think he is one of the luckiest in China, but others might disagree, bearing in mind the country’s reputation for pushing young athletes to extremes.
Yang Yang is one of about 280million children in China - representing about one-fifth of the child population of the world.
There are fewer than 80,000 [Beluga Whales / White Whale] left in Arctic waters, with St Lawrence, Cook Inlet, and Alaskan belugas classified as endangered.