Adorable, so long as the whale is treated well
There is no mistaking the excitement on the four-year-old boy's face as he swims alongside a beluga whale many times his size.
And the whale seems to be enjoying the company, too.
The boy, named Yang Yang, will ride his playmate bareback to entertain the crowds between the sailing events at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Yang Yang, who has been swimming since he was one, was chosen to swim with the five-year-old whale by staff at Qingdao Polar Ocean World in China's eastern Shandong Province. Scroll down for more...
Underwater friends: Yang Yang ducks deep with his favourite beluga whale. He has been a swimmer since he was one year old.
Star attractions: Yang Yang reaches out to pat his favourite pal
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. Scroll down for more...
Fearless: Young Yang Yang rides bare back with his very own big friendly giant
Friends reunited: Yang Yang and his whale chum copy each other underwater. The unusual pair became firm friends after appearing together during China's National Children's Day.
The whale's wild peers, however, are an endangered species.
There are fewer than 80,000 beluga whales left in Arctic waters, with St Lawrence, Cook Inlet, and Alaskan belugas classified as endangered. The recently completed Qingdao Polar Ocean World is home to more than 10,000 ornamental fish, as well as white whales and polar bears - and is one of the largest polar marine animal parks in the world.
Having a whale of a time: The little boy who goes swimming with a gentle giant | the Daily Mail
Damn, how cute! Although I am against the Olympics being in China.
ohhhh reminds me of the story of nuh jia!
Very Cute. This reminds me of that great song "Baby Beluga in the Deep Blue Sea..." Sharon Lois and Bram (Canucks) and Raffi (also Canuck) sang it.
omg that is sooo cute! im super jealous right now
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